THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BAND-A Degradation Theory

"...my music is perfect, you could go back to Beethoven and s***, but as far as this lifetime, though, this is all you got." -Kanye West Since the Second Industrial Age began in the late 19th century, human civilization has been continuously shaped and reshaped by notable advancements in technology. With every relevant invention or improved method of production, merchants scurried for the latest competitive edge while their customers rushed the market in search of Read more

ROOM TO BREATHE (Chase The Sample Super-Mix)

Wooooooooo, this is fun!  When it comes to music, I love taking a concept as far as it can go, so the 'Room To Breathe (Chase the Sample Super-Mix)' is a perfect example of my arguably unhealthy obsession with developing a good theme to its full conclusion.  In the past, it was 'Meatshake' or 'Einstein Buys a Monkey' but in 2016, I came up with the idea of singling out an element from my Read more

ROOM TO BREATHE-The Free LP

I am very pleased to announce that Unique Records will be releasing my first ever solo album 'ROOM TO BREATHE-The Free LP'.  This record contains ten, high-velocity, Hip-Hop tracks for listeners who enjoy intricate, action-packed rhyming skill showcased over fresh loops and funky drums.  Lyrically, I pushed myself as far as I could go with regard to style, pace and feel and the result, in my untrustworthy opinion, is a seriously cool collection of Read more

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BAND-A Degradation Theory

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
historic music groups

Thinning personnel of musical outfits over the past 100 years (starting from the upper-left): The Philadelphia Orchestra (1916), The Duke Ellington Orchestra (1937), The Dave Clark 5 (1964), The Ramones (1977), LL Cool J (1986), DJ Pauly D (somewhere in Miami Beach right now)

“…my music is perfect, you could go back to Beethoven and s***, but as far as this lifetime, though, this is all you got.” -Kanye West

Since the Second Industrial Age began in the late 19th century, human civilization has been continuously shaped and reshaped by notable advancements in technology. With every relevant invention or improved method of production, merchants scurried for the latest competitive edge while their customers rushed the market in search of goods that made life more comfortable and convenient.  As horse-drawn buggies gave way to Volkswagen Bugs and telegrams became text messages, the music business also updated its methods for delivering songs to listeners.  Starting with Thomas Edison’s phonograph in 1877, recorded music has been continuously manufactured for the public in constantly updated and increasingly cost-efficient forms.  From wax cylinders to vinyl discs to open reels to cassette tapes to compact discs to MP3’s, the means by which we listen to music has become less expensive to manufacture and easier to access.  While most of us love cheap and easy, it might be worth asking what, when it comes to our music, we may have given up for the sake of expediency. Read more

UGLY DUCKLING AND THE BOTTOM LINE

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, RAP RELATED, THE UGLY (DUCKLING) TRUTH | 41 Comments

Not long ago, a guy named Matthias contacted EARTOTHETRACK.NET and requested that I write a column about the difficult realities of surviving (I don’t use that word jokingly) as a small-time musical outfit like Ugly Duckling.  Normally, I would stay a mile away from a topic like this because, for me, it’s difficult to imagine that any reader would find a nominal

u.d. backstage

Ugly Duckling backstage in 2014. We, of course, demand gigantic guitar tuning pegs to be mounted in all of our dressing rooms

Hip-Hop group’s struggles compelling or entertaining.  In fact, I generally assume that most people take an interest in music with the intended purpose of escaping their own daily drudgery, not to empathize with the plight of working-class Rap acts who are, at the very least, chasing their dreams and avoiding 9-to-5’s.  Plus, it must be recognized that no authentic aspiring artists (with the possible exception of Gene Simmons) ever joined a band expecting to become wealthy.  We may have fantasized about the gratifying thrill of an audience’s approval and a bit of adventure, but any actual musician’s earliest hope and plea was to simply make a living doing music.  With that clearly stated, it would, in my opinion, be pathetic and condescending to write anything that came across as whiny or ungracious but, in this case, I’ll share some of my more challenging band experiences for, if nothing else, the sake of Matthias’s interest…

 

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“BLOWIN’ UP LIKE YOU THOUGHT I WOULD”: Hip-Hop and Jihad

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, RAP RELATED | Leave a comment
JIHAD CARTOON

My attempt at political cartooning after the Charlie Hebdo massacre

Since the stunning events of September 11, 2001, there has been a passionate and ongoing, political debate with regard to radical Islam and terrorism.  Despite Western attempts to combat and subdue the efforts of Islamic terror factions, these groups appear to be growing stronger and more resolute in their ambitions.  As the battle lines in this war are being drawn and redrawn, observers in Europe and America have been surprised by the large number of Western youths who’ve decided to abandon their home countries to fight on the side of groups like ‘The Taliban’, ‘Hamas’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘Hezbollah’ and, moving up the charts on their way to number one, ‘ISIS’.  Interestingly, many of these highly motivated mujahedeen have emerged from Hip-Hop-influenced backgrounds and some were actually pursuing careers in Rap Music.  After the attacks on the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ offices in Paris, I learned that one of the suspected gunmen (Cherif Kouachi) was once an aspiring Hip-Hop vocalist until he, at some point, quit rapping to begin his war on cartoons.  With this in mind, I’d like to shine the spotlight on a handful of young men who have put down their microphones and picked up balaclavas; I’m calling them ‘THE FURIOUS FIVE’…

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A CRITIQUE OF THE CRITICAL

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, CLASSIC POP, THE UGLY (DUCKLING) TRUTH | 2 Comments
Michael_Jackson_-_Thriller

I shudder to think what’s on his mind

I once saw a horribly negative album review of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ by a music writer with a forgettable name.  I can still recall that the reviewer was incredibly disappointed by what he felt was a lack of innovation and imagination from an artist with such great potential.  I remember the words “Predictable” and “Cliched” being thrown about and an expressed hope that Michael Jackson would return to the style of his previous LP ‘Off the Wall’.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig out this particular article anywhere on the internet (I’m almost certain its author did a hi-tech, CIA-style wipe to remove all traces of his shocking misjudgment of the world’s biggest selling record) but during my search, I found some other doozies that got me thinking about the role of critics… Read more

DO WE WRITE OUR OWN SCRIPT? A Legends Self-fulfilling Prophecies of Doom

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, CLASSIC POP | 2 Comments
I can't see a thing

I can’t see a thing

Not long ago, I read ‘Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives’, a collection of teachings from a deceased, Serbian Orthodox monk called Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica.  One of the philosophical concepts Elder Thaddeus put forward was his belief that the very way we think about ourselves, the people we know and the circumstances we face generally directs the outcomes of these relationships and situations. Elder Thaddeus communicated that “Our (lives) depend on the kinds of thoughts we nurture.  If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like”.  If I correctly understand his concept, negative thinking is, somehow, picked up by others even when we try our best to suppress it and, thus, sabotages any opportunity for a good result so, from his point of view, positive mental attitudes are an essential part of healthy and successful living. This brings me to my subject…

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