Do you ever wonder who curates the music at The Edge? You’re sitting there working on your project in the Window Bays when suddenly your favourite band starts playing through the PA system. Well, let’s meet two of the team that pick your Edge soundtrack and peer into their eclectic mixed tape.
Here is some music inspiration and two playlists to add to your Spotify account.
For those of you familiar with The Edge, you know we aren’t a quiet space and we play music over the course of our opening hours. As one of the Visitor Services Officers who curates the musical content, I’ve put together a playlist of songs/artists that I get inspiration from as a musician and, more generally, in my day to day life. I picked out a few of the tracks below and provided a brief run-down as to why they made the list:
J Dilla – Gobstopper
J Dilla is probably the single greatest influence/inspiration to me in terms of my music practice. As Questlove (The Roots) recently noted, he was the “paradigm shift” that changed hip hop and electronic music production forever. Gobstopper is from his final album Donuts shortly prior to his untimely passing. On the face of it it’s an extremely simple song; a loop lifted from a 70s soul record and some drums. Yet it also displays Dilla’s impeccable ear for melody and demonstrates his command of groove that many musicians/producers (myself included) strive to channel in our own compositions.
David Axelrod – Songs of Innocence
I discovered this artist when I was sampling vinyl for my hip hop group in the early 2000s. The marriage of heavy drums, guitars, organs, vocals and orchestral instruments was a revelation; I realised the music I loved was not bound by a particular era and you don’t have follow many genre-specific rules when writing music.
Mndsgn – Alluptoyou
Mndsgn is an artist on one of my favourite and eclectic record labels, Stones Throw. This particular track has a dreamy, ethereal quality to it and, as with most of Mndsgn’s catalogue, makes me want to stop listening and sit myself in front of a keyboard and start writing.
In terms of my musical practice, I describe myself as a producer/beat maker/synth nerd. My roots are in hip hop (The Optimen) and spent many years collecting and sampling vinyl records. I’ve since been involved in a soul outfit (Bankrupt Billionaires) and released solo electronic/synth based music under the moniker ‘Exploko’. Most recently I’ve scored an ABC iView documentary featuring street artist Amok Island.
Here’s a mix of around 20 songs from classic rock, heavy metal and a lot of funk.
What can I say? As a musician, primarily drummer and guitarist, I am driven towards big sounds or sounds that really make you get a groove on.
I’ve been on a self-taught musical journey for about 10 years (composing and producing for around three) and there have been a few standout tracks I can pinpoint as key to my musical development.
This track by Parliament showed me a couple of things about composition that I’d been ignorant of until the point of hearing it. The first is you don’t need a fat guitar tone and lots of notes to make your guitar sound really good in the mix. The other is you can break from the standard rock formula of guitar, bass, drums and vocals and add other instrumentation (notably brass in this track) to really compliment the song.
This song, if I can remember correctly, was my first introduction to syncopated drums. Now up until this point (and partly due to my lack of formal music education) I had been a strictly 4/4 player. I couldn’t really wrap my head around how to play this track for a while and it opened a huge door of ideas and ways of making my playing sound interesting.
American Ghost Dance
Anyone who knows me can tell you I’m a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers Fan. It’s not unique for the Peppers to sing about sensitive or important issues. The issue being addressed in this track being the slaying of native American people and the claiming of their sacred lands. This song showed me that you can write about melancholic material while still being uplifted. This song jams and you can really get down to it.
The rest of the music in my playlist follows similar inspiration and I’m sure that at the end of the list you’ll be bobbing your head or tapping your foot in time.