Category Archives: music

These are cool

Standard

These are a couple of years old, but they popped up on my Google alerts today for some reason.

The second one takes a little while to get going, but it works. With both songs I like that the person didn’t just layer the vocals over another track and let’s hope to God they fit (or worse, just fade from one song to another and back again). Apparently they had to isolate out the vocals, too, so kudos to them for putting some work into it.

(And of course if I’m talking about mash-ups, I have to include my fave:

Whoo!)

See, they’re very strict!

Standard

When Korean hip-hop artists tell you to sing along, you’d damned well better sing along! They mean it!

(Also the 1:40 mark cracks me up. Zico gets the most leverage out of the least stripping of any performer I have ever seen.)

The reason I was traveling this time was because I went to my 25th college reunion (yes, I have been out of college longer than most of you have been alive, I know). Among my classmates are Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes of Pink Martini, which is an amazing group and a big favorite of my family.

(For the record, I’ve heard Thomas play piano like that in the dark. He’s quite something.)

Anyway, Thomas and China were very generous with their time and talent at the reunion, which was awesome, but it was funny to me how long it took an American audience to start singing or even just clapping along. Let’s just say that audience participation has been waaaaay less optional at the Korean shows I’ve been to!

ETA: I shall add that the MOST exciting celebrity at the reunion was definitely this one!

Exciting to me, that is. As you might guess, successful surf dogs are really, really calm….

I can’t say I have too much sympathy

Standard

So, I updated my earlier post about “That Song that Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy’,” but I wanted to do a new post about it because it’s a little interesting.

According to this (via @Veryhensemguy)

The guy bought the beat here thinking it was legit. Where he loses my sympathy is the whole bit where he’s not taking it down now that he knows he was scammed, I guess because he’s hoping to get cursed at in Korean on all his social media for the rest of time.

So what did he buy? This:

It was put up on YouTube FOUR DAYS after this song!

Keep in mind that the top song is ALSO being sold commercially!

So, you know, if you took the time to thumb down or report “That Song that Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy'” on YouTube, be sure to take a minute to do the same for “That Other Song that Also Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy'”–especially because they’re probably doing this to a LOT of artists….

ETA: I’m putting this here in hopes it shows up when people Google this asshole–RYANSAGE.NET IS A SCAM. Read his disclaimer: You will pay Mr. Ryan Sage hundreds of dollars for music he does not own and you cannot use. MUSICIAN BEWARE!

Commercial use

Standard

The YouTube video of “That Song that Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy'” was pulled down, which seems like a tacit admission that proper protocols were not observed when it was made. And one of the Korean fans has managed to get through to Poptime, so it seems like Seven Seasons is definitely going to know about it.

(Original Tweet here. And thank you!)

The thing that could potentially make this really expensive for the guy is that it’s a commercial release–“TStSaWLL’T'” (a.k.a. “Megafon”) is on iTunes and Amazon and Google Play and Spotify and God only knows what other retail outlets. That makes its a very different creature than a mixtape using an unlicensed sample from “Toy,” which would likely not be a big deal.

Notice something interesting? When it comes to classifying as song as a commercial release, it doesn’t matter if it makes any money. The mere presence of “TStSaWLL’T'” on retail sites is enough to make it a commercial release. Has the song sold not a single copy? Did the guy actually lose money on it? It doesn’t matter.

I have seen this concept repeatedly confound newbie writers. You tell them that they are making a commercial release when they self-publish a book, and they tell you:

  • “I haven’t made any money from this!”
  • “This isn’t a commercial book–it’s literature.”
  • “There’s not a publishing house involved. It’s just me.”
  • “I’m fine if I don’t make money–this is really a passion project.”

Nobody cares!!! Are you putting your work up for sale? Yes? That’s enough! It’s a commercial release now, and nobody gives a fuck about the rest of it.

The thing is that, at least in the United States, the holder of the copyright on something has certain rights regardless of how the property is used–but they often distinguish between what’s called personal use and what’s called commercial use.

So, let’s say there’s some cool clip art out there, as well as some bitchin’ fonts, and you have used these time and time again to advertise your church’s bake sale or your school club or whatever. You never had to pay for any of this artwork, and that was never a problem–you’ve never even had to think about it.

Because you were engaged in personal use.

Try slapping that shit on the cover of something you’re going to sell, and suddenly there’s a whole bunch of problems. There’s all this small print about “commercial licenses,” and if you don’t pay it any mind, lawyers send you nasty letters and you have to pay a bunch of money.

Do I think that kind of slippery-slope thing is what happened here? I have no idea–maybe the dude thought that Korea is so far away that no one could possibly figure out what he’d done! (It’s not like they have the Internet there, right?) (ETA: We know more now.) But a lot of newer artists do kind of have trouble wrapping their brains around the fact that the arts are commercial–these are businesses and industries, and you can’t get away from that no matter how bohemian or small-time you are.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a commercial artist, if you’re putting it up for sale, the law thinks that you are one–and it’s important to know that.

That does sound familiar, doesn’t it?

Standard

Hmmm…..

It could be that both artists simply used the same sample, which is totally kosher if they both paid for the rights for it. And even if the dude just sampled “Toy” without permission, which is not legal, it may not be worth Seven Seasons’ time to shut him down. But given that the German song was released seven months after “Toy,” I wouldn’t be shocked if there was some, shall we say, inspiration there.

ETA 5/13/17: According to this (via @Veryhensemguy)

The guy bought the beat here thinking it was legit. Of course, now that he knows it’s not legit, he’s not taking it down, because logic!

Korea Times Music Festival–whoot! whoot!

Standard

So, if I was able to fall asleep after, you know it must have been exhausting–the KTMF was four-and-a-half hours of long! But fun. Lots of fun.

Actually, the concert was four-and-a-half hours. (Bastarz sang all of three songs–if there’s only one group you want to see, this is not the venue I’d recommend.) Before the concert was the festival, which mainly seemed to be booths where they’d spin a wheel and you win stuff. Honestly, at this point in my life, I don’t feel a need for more stuff, but people seemed to enjoy it.

And there were a lot of people.

It had what I think every festival could use–a giant cup of ramen walking around.

Not shown: The concerned little girl who did not think that giant cups of ramen should be allowed to walk around.

My main regret from deciding to kind of avoid the festival side of things is that (since you can eat in the Hollywood Bowl) everyone around me had the most delicious-smelling Korean food, and I was very jealous (I made do with a lame sandwich from the concessions stand). If I do this again, and I might, I’ll have to investigate and figure out where that food came from.

This was my first time going to the Hollywood Bowl, which was really cool. (And I second the advice to walk there from the Hollywood and Highland Metro station–it’s less than a mile, and it’s a gradual slope. It only gets steep once you’re inside.)

 

I’m sharing so many pictures of the Hollywood Bowl because I was too far away and my phone camera was too crappy to get good pictures of the actual concert, especially once it got dark and everything was backlit.

But I did get a good one of Haha’s hair being blown so it looked silly (it was windy), while Tiffany’s hair just looked wind-blown and glamours. (They were the MCs.)

And I tried really hard with Bastarz and managed to get all of one shot:

As I mentioned, KTMF is really long–there were introductory performances as well, so I think we saw something like 15 or 16 different acts? It’s also attracts a range of ages, and the music isn’t just idol pop. (There were some grannies sitting near me, and it was funny to see what made them plotz. Believe it or not, a Black gospel choir from Crenshaw and DJ Doc both did the trick)

Because the festival was so big and diverse, it’s kind of hard to talk about it in a coherent fashion, so I guess I’ll talk about what stuck out to me.

Bastarz

I’ll start with them, because why not? Like I said, they only did three songs (“Make It Rain,” “Charlie Chaplin,” and “Conduct Zero”)–they were funny and weird, of course, and there were quite a few honey wands in the audience (alas, I forgot to pack my little one). There were three big video screens on the stage, and the cameramen were shooting the three of them so that each one appeared on a screen. But that actually made them look cool and organized, so it triggered the Block B Chaos Effect, and one of the feeds went dead and stayed dead for the rest of the concert. (You tempt the Block B Chaos Effect at your peril, show technicians!)

I don’t really like normal idol performances

It was interesting to see where Bastarz/Block B fits on the idol-other musician spectrum (basically: We’re trying to idol, but we’re not very good at it).

Most of the performers were not idol performers, and in all honestly I was very thankful for that, because I enjoyed the normal idol performances the least by far.

Why? Well, there’s just not a lot of actual stagecraft going on there. The boy groups (Victon, NCT 127) danced very well but didn’t do a whole lot in the way of singing, so it was like watching a dance troupe perform to a song they downloaded from the Internet. Apink and Tiffany sang more and danced less, but it was all devoid of spontaneity. No one was working the audience or getting everyone going, because there just wasn’t any room for that.

In contrast, the hip-hop groups (Skull & Haha, DJ Doc) were VERY good at riling up the audience. (And DJ Doc was just like, “GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS UP!!!”–they didn’t give a shit before they were respected industry seniors, and they certainly don’t give a shit now. The grannies didn’t mind.) The non-idol soloists (Kim Yeong Im, Cho Hang Jo, Chu Ga Yeoul, Min Kyung Hoon, and Gummy) were just amazing musically, so even though I wasn’t familiar with their stuff, I’d gladly watch any of them live again.

But all that musicality and stagecraft was just missing from the idol performances–even if I liked the songs, the idol format was just kind of blah.

Haha is a very funny man

Very funny. He barely speaks English, and yet I, who understand precious little Korean, thought he was hilarious (he and Tiffany kept sparring over the correct pronunciation of “McDonald’s”). When he came out to perform with Skull, he was wearing dark glasses, but then he whipped them off to sing “soulfully” into the camera for “Don’t Laugh”–and in the process he dropped them, so he had to retrieve them from an audience member afterward.

The English-only crowd should stay away

Not that they’d come anyway, but the whole thing was largely in Korean with only occasional English.

Which meant that the patter could get a little dull, but sometimes I understood it. Like Kim Yeong Im asked if we wanted an encore, which we most certainly did, and then she said something along the lines of how she was happy to hear it because she wasn’t sure how she’d hold up against all the younger idol groups, and then I believe she implied that Haha had given her a hard time about all that.

Then she performed and was great, and Haha ran out and threw confetti on her.

And NCT 127 will forever be to me The Group of Young Men Who Don’t Speak English Well and Are Very Self-Conscious About It…Plus Two Total Bros (yeahahahahah).

P.O actually gave English the old college try (“Yes!” “The weather is nice!”), which was delightfully awkward (although his pronunciation was very good). He read his patter from a card, which resulted in things like, “I’m so happy [pauses to squint at paper] to be here.”

[ETA: Here’s a fan cam:

So cute!]

So, I had a great time! And it was a handy excuse to travel someplace where you can actually see the sun, which God knows I needed!

ETA: I know some non-Americans were upset that there wasn’t a big crowd to greet Bastarz at the airport–guys, Americans don’t do that, certainly not like people in Asia. I think the members of Block B are used to that by this point.

This video brought to you by LensNine

Standard

So much pastel. But it’s awesome.

It’s a bit like “A Few Years Later” for me, where it starts off as a regular ballad and then becomes something much more interesting.

It’s also interesting how people’s inability to understand Korean and their reliance on visual cues is coloring their take on the song. They’re like, “Oh, it’s so soft and sweet, but why does it end so abruptly?” But guys, the song is basically saying, If you leave your girlfriend alone for long, I’m going to fuck her. And it ends abruptly because the last line is the revelation of both the boyfriend and the fact that this is not a normal love song after all….

Keeping it real.