Demo of Beat It composed using only Michael Jackson’s voice
As Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.
One of his engineers Robmix on how Jackson worked: “One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. “here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note”, etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57. He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”
Reasons why I laugh when people say he wasn’t a real musician.
“Today the creativity of communication is conditioned by an obsessive search for consensus, in the false belief that consensus is success. Fear of failure always produces mediocrity, because the chosen solution will always be the least risky and the most banal. In most cases, the solution doesn’t even attempt to be original, but wants, rather, to be a mediocre and repetitious replica of a past solution.”—
Much of Toscani’s speech is meant to be inflammatory in that way “creatives are better than others” topics so often (unfortunately) default, so portions read less genuinely universal than others. But hey, getting riled up is good for the soul, right?
However, this passage is filled with absolute truth. Absolute truth.
I remember having no idea what Alec Empire’s The Destroyer stuff was supposed to sound like since my first purchases of their stuff in the ’90s was vinyl that didn’t tell you the RPM to play it at, and with that band there’s no context to judge whether you’ve got it right or not.
“The French audience [at Cannes in 2000] rose for an ovation that lasted fifteen minutes, overcome by the film [Requiem For A Dream] and delighted that they’d never have to see it again.”—This is EXACTLY the response I had after watching this movie as well. And I haven’t watched it since. [via Tad Friend’s "Heavy Weather: Darren Aronofsky gets Biblical" in The New Yorker]
“I think a lot of people [in indie rock] now are inherently apologetic because of the things we grew up with in the ’90s, and we saw rock music go from the most beautiful, amazing, culture-changing thing to, like, rap metal. The world of indie and rock music became very apologetic, and no one’s trying to be too good and they’re always trying to hold it back either with the songs or the production. No one wants to be quote-unquote “obvious.” But, like, everyone references Paul Simon, and Fleetwood Mac has become a huge indie reference nowadays, but that’s all bullshit because the most important part of that reference is not the dry snare drum, it’s the unbelievably classic songs and production. After rap metal in the late ’90s, there was this split of mainstream and indie and rock, like they couldn’t coexist. But I grew up when The Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam and Nirvana were all mainstream, but they were also really good. I’d much rather be a part of mainstream culture than be a part of my own culture and have it be not…all the way.”—