Thursday, May 11, 2006

OCRemix.org

I hate it when people think that some genres are better than others, and I specially hate it when those people are jazz players who consider that, let's say, pop or country music are inferior to jazz.

I accept that jazz or classical music are more demanding genres, and playing a simple Beethoven's piece or improvising over an easy jazz standard is way more difficult than strumming the three chords needed to play Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door", but that has no relation at all with the quality of those songs, and by no means with the quality of the genre they belong to. Playing a typical pop song and making your friends happy with it is really easy. But that does not mean that pop itself is easy. Absolutely not. Ever heard of The Beatles? They played pop and are respected by most players worlwide, from polka players to jazz players to flamenco player. And don't tell me that it is easy to do what they did, because definititely it is not.

With instruments it happens more or less the same. I cannot stand people who think that playing piano or harp(a stringed harp, i mean) is harder than playing a recorder or a harp (a non-stringed one), and for that reason they consider that a piano player is a better musician than a recorder player. The technique might be harder in the case of the piano (and even that is arguable...), but technique is just a small part of what is needed to make music. So you play piano or guitar and you think that that makes you a better musician than someone who just plays recorder? Well, get someone who can improvise with the recorder like Charlie parker did with his sax. Can you do that? Probably not...

The thing is that, whatever the instrument you play, whatever the genre you play, it is equally difficult to master them, for one simple reason: mastering them is just impossible. I repeat: impossible. No matter how good you are, there's always a new sound you can get, a better solo you can play, or a better tune you can compose. Music has no limits, and that is the best thing about it. When you reach a limit, that is your limit, not its limit.

I like to find people that share this same way of thinking, people that believes that good music can be found everywhere, that one should listen to every single player or composer in every single genre. That's why yesterday, when I discovered www.ocremix.org, I was really glad to find that there are people out there seeking that musical magic stuff in tunes that, at first sight, might not seem good enough to have it. OCRemix is, in the words of its creators, "a website dedicated to reviving the video and computer game music of yesterday, and reinterpreting that of today, with new technology & capabilities. This site's mission is to prove that this music is not disposable or merely just background, but is as intricate, innovative, and lasting as any other form." Enough said.

The website is full of interesting stuff, brilliant arrangements, and enough material to spend hours browsing it.

Of course, you can join the project and submit your own vresions, and, of course, I'm going to do it! The slavophile in me could not but choose the main melody of that extremely addictive russian game that you all know: Tetris. In fact, for those of you that do not know it, this song is much more than computer game music. Most people ignore it, bu it is a traditional russian folk song called "коробейники", with lyrics written by the great russian poet N.A. Nekrasov. The first book that I bought in Russia was a second-hand antology of his works (by that time I could not understand most of the words, but it was so ludicrously cheap that I had to buy it. Later on I discovered that all books in russia were that cheap...), so for me it also has some kind of sentimental meaning.

I have already started to arrange and record it, but do not have it ready yet. In the meantime, I give you two links: one to another remix of the song (in this case a techno-inspired one), and another one to a short video with a couple of russian guys dancing "коробейники" the old-russian style.

http://www.ocremix.org/songs/Tetris_Slavic_Roots_OC_ReMix.mp3
http://www.barynya.com/video/korobeiniki.mpg

Aahhhh, how I love this russian stuff :-) Definitely, it is the best music for this moment...it makes me feel great. I do not know exactly why...but I feel happy today. The sun is shining, the weekend is almost here, I am listening to russian music... In musical terms, my life today is being played on a major key :-)

See ya all!

5 comments:

Wala said...

Geeezzz... I loved your Cheek2Cheek, Master Olaya :-) and the russian video is awesome too, but... when will you be dancing that stuff yourself, uh?

My congrats to your Cheek2Cheek again, keep on posting songs!

Vane said...

Hi Victor, hey I completely agree with you. In fact one thing is mastering technique and another thing is making music. In fact, horrible musicians have made they way to move us while other technically perfect musicians don't awake in you any emotion. Because music is about feelings, like poetry, you can never put it under rules, it flows alone and sometime it works in the most perfect way. If you think about blues, which is one of the most perfects forms of emotion, it is actually very simple; but I get chicken skin everytime I hear some of the old slow blues... although I also get chicken skin if I listen to, don't know, let's say Miles Davis, but it's not only the technique, it's also the way he feels it! In my class of jazz singers there is people which dominate the technique and still I find them so stiff. My favorite is a girl that does it very easily, as if it were the easiest thing in the world, as if she were singing from her heart and not from years of practising...

Rubiales said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rubiales said...

A russian gift for a russian-lover...

Rubiales said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bpx/sets/72057594117941491/show/