Do you like playing vinyl? Well good news - there is a new (to us) turntable in the studio this year! The ReVox B795 turntable on the right is a professional reference grade model with a cool "linear track" tonearm. We think it complements our Technics party DJ style turntable on the left quite nicely! Also, notice how the lid to the turntable cabinet stays up now? Yep, we got that fixed too. Shoutout to Technical Director Bennett Gould for setting up the new hardware!
Hey party people! Sign-ups for Fall 2015 DJ slots are now live at the below link. Please have applications submitted by Friday 9/4 at noon. DJs that are assigned a show will receive an email and will be expected to attend a general meeting on Sunday 9/6 at 8:30pm in Campus Center 303
By Jeremy Loewer - 2015/16 WARC Web Technician and cool Dude Who Knows His Music
Released in Janruary 2015, Mark Ronson's album Uptown Special proved to be an interesting listen. Although I am pleased to see such a current album emulating 70s and 80s funk, I find myself slightly frustrated by the number of people who hear Ronson's work, like Uptown Funk on top 40 radio. These listeners find the tunes catchy, but never choose to compare them to the broader genre of funk, which is in my opinion a much better listening experience. While I do believe Ronson's album approaches traditional funk techniques in many areas, it also misses the mark in a lot of ways.
Throughout the entire release I could feel the lack of cohesion between the rhythm section players that is so clearly present in 70s funk. One cannot simply put a bassist, rhythm guitarist and drummer in the same room on different tracks. Nowadays it's likely these parts were recorded at separate times and interlaid rather than performed as a unit. This process destroys the underlying feel which is only created by live performance. The complex and often surprising interactions between these three instruments is critical for a good groove.
Areas of the album approach this standard. Track 3: Feel Right, reminds me of a modern James Brown tune. Although it utilizes a similar loop-based style of James Brown, if you compare it to Papa's Got a Brand New Bag you'll notice the difference - The bass radiates deeper and fills the empty space rather than simply repeating a pattern. In addition, Brown has a melodic voice that is lacking in this rapped track.
Uptown Funk suffers from a similar problem. There is simply too much empty space, and it's almost as if today's listening audience doesn't have the attention span to reach a sustained groove - they simply want the beat to drop (albeit predictably). By leaving no empty space, traditional funk gives the audience things to latch onto. If they used an actual bassist instead of a baritone vocal, I believe the foundation could be stronger. Notice for example how Midas Touch by Midnight Star leaves no opportunity for silence. There are layers of juicy surprises!
Track 5: I Can't Loose was my favorite on the album because of it's use of a nice synth chord progression and female vocal. It reminded me a lot of Melba Moore's Love's Comin' At Ya except yet again we fail to see a bass line different than a lead accompaniment.
In a face-palm moment, track 8: In Case of Fire, achieves the groove I was looking for but doesn't have the vocals to match! They had so many talented artists on the album but really didn't use them properly. Tame Impala is great on it's own – but it's sleepy haze music is not funk.
Some critics have rated Ronson's album highly, calling it fresh and progressive. While I appreciate the modernization of old tricks, I cannot justify giving this album the label of Funk, when it is missing the irreplaceable soul of the past.
WARC just bought and installed some new stuff to run our in-studio monitor speakers!
We got this snazzy amplifier with plenty of wattage and this graphic equalizer to tune our fairly new Pioneer monitors to the studio space. DJs, let me know how you like it!