(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Milli Vanilli

“We got the beat”*…

 

The drum machine is one of the most effective musical inventions of our time. It’s affordable, easy to use, and ruthless in its precision, able to do exactly what it’s been told for as long as required (so long as you’ve got an AC adaptor). Of course, not everybody warms to the drum machine’s big plastic buttons and bright LED screen…

Starting from the Italian Futurists, “A Brief History of the Drum Machine in Rock Music.”

* The Go-Gos

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As we lay in the loop, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that NARAS stripped Milli Vanilli of the Grammy that they had won earlier that year.  One of the most popular pop acts in the late 1980s, their album debut album Girl You Know It’s True achieved international success and earned them the Grammy for Best New Artist.  But when it was revealed that neither of the duo (Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus) had actually sung lead vocals on the albums songs, the award was withdrawn.  The group recorded a comeback album, Back and in Attack, in 1998, but Rob Pilatus died before the album was released.

Milli Vanilli at the 1990 Grammys

source

 

Written by LW

November 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

Tripping the Light Fantastic…

 Click here to watch full-screen (at least some of) the history of Western dance music unfold

Music tourism (visiting a city or town to see a gig or festival) is on the rise. But why stop at gigs and festivals? Why not visit the birthplace of your favourite genre and follow the actual journey various music genres have taken as one style developed into another.

To make it easier to trace the threads of music history, we’ve created an interactive map detailing the evolution of western dance music over the last 100 years. [It’s actually from the late 18th Century to the present…] The map shows the time and place where each of the music styles were born and which blend of genres influenced the next…

One can (and surely should) quibble with the map-makers’ bias to Afro-Carribean-based dance music (what about the Virginia reel, and its antecedents?  Or Latin dance music?)  But then, that’s fun of artifacts like this– the challenge to make them “better,” to make them one’s own…

Watch the interactive history unfold and read the full background at Thomson Travel’s “Evolution of Western Dance Music.”

And lest one doubt that music is in fact contagious, consider this evidence from the PRC:

 

As we tap our toes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that producer Frank Farian publicly admitted that the voices heard on the recordings of Milli Vanilli were not the actual voices of the duo (Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus).  Shortly thereafter, the “Best New Artist” Grammy that the group had won earlier that year was recalled…  In this age of wide-spread lip-syncing and Auto-Tune, it all seems so quaint…

source

Written by LW

November 15, 2011 at 1:01 am

Pages through the ages…

(Roughly) Daily often visits the British Library (as does your correspondent, every time he’s in London: pound for pound, the best museum experience in the world).

Now, as part of that august institution’s on-going efforts to make its extraordinary collection more widely available, the BL has created an online English Language and Literature Timeline.

From the very early (c. 1000)…

Beowulf is the longest epic poem in Old English, the language spoken in Anglo-Saxon England before the Norman Conquest. It tells the breathtaking story of a struggle between the hero, Beowulf, and a bloodthirsty monster called Grendel. Poems of this kind would often have been recited from memory by a court minstrel, or scop, to the accompaniment of a harp.

This fire-damaged manuscript is the only surviving copy of the story. It was written down in about 1000, but the poem may have been created by storytellers as early as the 700s.

…to the very recent (1970’s)…

Sniffin Glue, the first punk fanzine, was produced by Mark Perry in July 1976 a few days after seeing US punk band The Ramones for the first time at the Roundhouse in London. He took the title from a Ramones song ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’. Perry’s fanzine was the perfect punk form. It reported the moment immediately as it happened, from an insider’s point of view. Because Perry used everyday tools that were immediately to hand, Sniffin’ Glue fitted with the do-it-yourself ethos which was already an important part of punk culture. A flood of punk zines followed, with identifiable cut and paste graphics, typewritten or felt tip text, misspellings and crossings out. Photocopying also contributed to the punk zine look by limiting graphic experimentation to black and white tones and imagery based on collage, enlargement and reduction. Sniffin’ Glue demonstrated that anyone could easily, cheaply and quickly produce a fanzine.

…and with fascinating contextual call-outs, e.g.

Language in the 11th Century

The Normans transform England, both culturally and linguistically. For over 300 years French is the language spoken by the most powerful people – royalty, aristocrats and high-powered officials – some of whom can’t speak English at all. French is used in political documents, in administration, and in literature. Latin is still the language of the church and of scholars, but most of the general population speak English in their everday lives.

Thousands of French words become embedded in the English vocabulary, most of which are words of power, such as crown, castle, court, parliament, army, mansion, gown, beauty, banquet, art, poet, romance, chess, colour, duke, servant, peasant, traitor  and governor.

…it’s all there– the extraordinary pageant that is our language.

As we re-visit Dr.Johnson, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded the Best New Artist Grammy to Milli Vanilli.  NARAS probably wishes that it could take back any number of Grammys awarded over the years; this is the only one they ever did.  Later that year German producer Frank Farian revealed that he had put the names and faces of the beauteous but voice-less Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan on the dance records he had created in his studio using actual (but less sightly) musicians. Four days later, Milli Vanilli’s Grammy honor was withdrawn.

Rob and Fab (source)

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