33 1/3 :
by Dan LeRoy
Paperback, 129 pages
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
MISH MASH Mandate: Cooky Puss
Continuum 33 1/3 Website
Steal This Music
by Joanna Demers
University Of Georgia Press
Paperback, 178 pages
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
MISH MASH Mandate: Been Caught Stealing
University Of Georgia Press Website
by Dave Huner
Softback, 207 pages with CD
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
Build It Like The Pros
by Rod Gervais
Thomson Course Technology
Softcover, 326 pages
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