California, the Golden State. Los Angeles, the city of dreams, where stars are made and fall again. A fascinating town – glamorous and seedy, full of aspiring entertainers, dazzling wannabes, and failed characters. And there are a lot of songs perfectly capturing this ambiguous nature. So, here’s the second part of my Sad California playlist:
(check out Part 1 here…)
When we decided to move from Germany to California, of course I immedately started to compile a “mix tape” for the occasion. And me being me, it of course tended to be more on the dark, sad, melancholy side.
As I never tire to mention, I’m a big fan of the German electronic band Tangerine Dream and am heavily influenced by their work and their embracing of different styles and re-inventing themselves over the decades. Founded 50 years ago today and having released far over 100 albums, soundtracks and compilations, it’s hard to choose only a few favorites, or to tell anyone not familiar with the band where they should start listening. And although I’m doomed to fail, I’ll try anyway and present five Tangerine Dreams albums you should listen to – from classic times to more modern works.
Radio Ga Ga… Radio can be very cool to listen to, but on the other hand I never liked it as much as listening to full albums or concerts. And there are a few reasons for that. So here’s my little rant about commercial radio.
Mixing music is quite often a thing of personal taste – while some like to have crispy highs (and loud HiHats and Cymbals), others prefer a more bassy sound. But why is it still a bit muddy or muffled (or too tinny)? Here are five quick tips that can help your mix – plus one quick look at a picture showing how not to do it:
Don’t you hate that: You know the song you’re just hearing but can’t remember the title or who the artist is. Well, you’re not alone – and there’s a big amount of songs that most people recognize, but don’t know the title, let alone the artist’s name. “Popcorn” probably is the perfect example: Everyone knows the bouncy melody, but who can honestly say, who recorded it? Some might know the version by Hot Butter – but that’s not the original…
Not all famous artists write their songs themselves – but there’s a lot that do. And although I’m really interested in the “who wrote what”, there’s of course many where I don’t know that they were written by somebody else. Shame on me, I only discovered after his death, that Prince wrote The Bangles’ “Manic Monday”.
One of my favorite synthpop bands are Pet Shop Boys, and although I knew the obvious songs they wrote for other artists like Liza Minelli (“Losing My Mind”) and Dusty Springfield (“In Private”), there are more songs besides the big hits, that they wrote and not always recorded themselves later.