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New Book Reviews



33 1/3 : Paul's Boutique
by Dan LeRoy
Continuum Books
Paperback, 129 pages
$9.95 US

 

After the smashing commercial success of their major label debut, Licensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys found themselves at a crossroads where they could choose to play it safe or to take their music to the next level. Instead of doing a copy-cat followup, the pioneering white rap trio took a chance by doing something completely different and ended up changing the hip-hop world forever with Paul's Boutique.

In this recent addition to Continuum Books' brilliant 33 1/3 series, Dan LeRoy examines all the controversy and creativity that went into making this groundbreaking album back in the late 80s. LeRoy tells the story of the group breaking ties with their then label Def Jam (and owner Russell Simmons) and their subsequent move to Capitol Records. Along the way, the group hooks up with a relatively unknown trio of California club DJs, The Dust Brothers, who they enlist to help create and produce their sophomore effort. To make a long story short, they end up making an unexpectedly critically acclaimed album which turns out to be a huge commercial bomb.

The real story here, as LeRoy shows, is not so much the fizzle in the marketplace, but the historical importance the album now holds almost 17 years later. The Beastie Boys and The Dust Brothers set a new standard by taking hip-hop and sampling to its extreme, creating a piece of aural art often compared to Sgt. Pepper.

LeRoy gets all the down-and-dirty details of the shenanigans that were going on during the recording, from drive-by eggings in LA to almost blowing up the speakers at Masterdisk in New York. The last half of the book examines the songs themselves, providing stories about inspirations and breaking down the major sample sources. It's good to have a copy of the album on hand during this section, so you can reference what's being described. The list of samples are dizzying - LeRoy admits readily that his breakdown is not comprehensive - as everything from the Eagles to the Beatles are present.

Overall, LeRoy does a great job of bringing this wild time to life, even though most of the rememberances from those involved are wound up in a decades-old haze of booze and drugs (and late night egg raids). It's an interesting read, especially if you are familiar with the album or the Beasties in general, and it provides a rare insight into a part of hip-hop which has been neglected for far too long.

MISH MASH Mandate: Cooky Puss
Continuum 33 1/3 Website



Steal This Music
by Joanna Demers
University Of Georgia Press
Paperback, 178 pages
$19.95 US

 

In our age of expanding technology, the world of music has been turned from a living and breathing form of art into an intellectual property battleground. File sharing, borrowing, sampling, mashups, and licensing are all points of contention which seem to grow in controversy on a daily basis. The lines have all blurred, and it gets harder to determine what is legal and what is not, which has lead to an explosion of confusing legal issues concerning music.

Joanna Demers has concern about what this means for the art of music itself, when the ever-present threat of legal action becomes stifling to the creative process. She examines the legal minefield of the contemporary music business and what growing litigation means for both artist and consumer.

As our technology grows, our online world grows smaller, and intellectual property will become an even bigger issue in years to come. This is a must-read for artists and music lovers who are concerned about the laws surrounding intellectual property and how they affect the creative process.

MISH MASH Mandate: Been Caught Stealing
University Of Georgia Press Website

 



The Electric Guitar Sourcebook
by Dave Huner
Backbeat Books
Softback, 207 pages with CD
$24.95 US
 

 
Ever listened to your favorite guitar player and wondered how to get "that sound" from your guitar? Dave Hunter has put together a valuable resource for guitarists, showing them the various number of electric guitar types available and what kinds of sounds they can produce.

From solidbodies to hollowbodies, and from humbuckers to single-coils, Hunter breaks down the individual elements of the electric guitar and shows how each one affects the overall sound. He shows how different types of guitars use these elements in varying ways in order to create distinctive tones. Not only that, he also includes a CD which gives you sound samples of a number of guitar types, so you can hear them for yourself.

All this information takes a lot of confusion out of guitar choice, especially when you are seeking a specific tone. This is a valuable reference which is sure to be used over and over again by guitarists.

MISH MASH Mandate: Sound System
Backbeat Books Website


 
Home Recording Studio:
Build It Like The Pros
by Rod Gervais
Thomson Course Technology
Softcover, 326 pages
$39.99 US


 
Computer and software technology allows DIY musicians to record music on their own that can rival that of a major label production. Building a quality studio space is key
when acheiving top-notch sound in your recordings.

This book by Rod Gervais is probably the most thorough and detailed manual you can get for building a truly professional-grade recording studio. Beware, this is not for the faint of heart rank amateurs, but for serious musicians and producers who want to do it right.

Gervais gives you step-by-step, illustrated instructions on everything you need to know to build your own home studio. From sound isolation to wiring to acoustic treatments, he gives straight answers and dispels myths about studio sound, giving you a no-nonsense and realistic approach to your construction project. This is not a book about shortcuts or corner-cutting, but a complete guide to get a truly professional work space. Do not even begin to think about building a studio until you read this book first.
 

MISH MASH Mandate: Do It Yourself
Thomson Course Technology Website



© 2006 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved

mishmashmusic@hotmail.com

 

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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved
mishmashmusic@hotmail.com