Tuesday, May 20, 2014

ill communication

The Beastie Boys got it together and put their root down waist deep in hip hip punk rock with this groovy gumbo of freaky funky flavors.  After the massive success of their debut album 'Licensed to Ill' , the group flipped the script with their sampladelic masterpiece 'Paul's Boutique'.  The follow-up 'Check Your Head' saw them getting back to their roots and playing instruments.  'Ill Communication' was produced by the Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato, Jr. and features  Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz on vocals and guitar;  Michael "Mike D" Diamond vocals and drums;  and Adam "MCA" Yauch on vocals, electric bass, and string bass;    with John Klemmer as sample source;  Eugene Gore on violin;  Eric Bobo on percussion;  Amery Smith on drums;  "Keyboard Money Mark" Nishita on keyboards and organ; and Q-Tip and Biz Markie bringing guest vocals.  

Mike D revealed:    "We all get involved in the cuts. For example, Yauch (MCA) is actually the most Terminator-oriented. He's actually taken his DJing skills and applied those to his bass-playing technique. So he's got the Terminator-bass playing action. Horovitz (Ad-Rock) does a lot of cuts on the album, too. I'm just generally involved in the mad creative search for beats that all of us partake in and battle with all day long...I might catch some flak here from the rest of the group, but I've got the most, the most primo records going on in the group. But Adam Horovitz will out-freak me some times, when it comes to looping them and sampling them and so forth. I'm more of, like, a whole bar. I use the bigger sampling-time techniques. Adam's always had the SP-1200s and he's the mastertaking little short parts and quarter and half bars and just freakin' 'em and making them work ...What's sad is that there's also a lot of hip-hop songs that were shelved and they need to stay on the shelf-but that's the way it is for all our records. With our last few, we might have done some hip-hop and then we'll decide, 'Okay let's try this thing or that thing-a whole bunch of different things."

MCA mused:    "I guess what I do is visualize the way that the music should feel or what it should represent. In meditation or whatever, just hanging out and listening, I work on visualizations of what that music represents or feels like to me and then when it comes time, it just pretty much comes out, somehow. It just comes through.  So that's the main way that I compose. There's no set way of starting with music and then working on lyrics, or starting with lyrics and then working with music. It is kind of random when it comes together and just playin' around to see what works. But the main part of it is that visualization. Just knowing what the music feels like. Not necessarily what it sounds like ... Sampling is just one part of our music.  We’ve never stopped using live instruments, partly because of the warmth they bring to a cut, partly because it’s so much easier to just sit down and play a riff you have running through your head than spend weeks rummaging around your record collection looking for a sample that sounds vaguely similar...We never record with an agenda. We make the music we’re compelled to make at the time. If that happens to be punk, we make punk music. If we felt compelled to mess around with flutes, we’d make flute music...I think we’ve experimented a lot with tracks over the years. Some of the instrumental stuff could be by any number of bands. But when the three of us start rhyming it’s always going to sound like a Beastie Boys tune. I don’t think there’s any way of getting around that ... So what [we're saying on 'Ill Communication'] is that L.A. is like a space station, right? And like, we were traveling from, say, the moon to Pluto, and we just got caught on this station, and then like, somebody erased our memories, and we don't even know where we came from or where we are anymore; but on this new album, we're having flashes of memory, like unconscious interludes?... When we first started MC'ing, I was coming from a real ignorant perspective.  I didn't understand how jazz had come from black culture and then became absorbed into mainstream society and how the same thing happened with rock'n'roll. And how the process just repeated itself with us and hip hop. When people pointed it out, it definitely humbled me quite a bit.  See, I don't think there's just a young, black male identity crisis going on out there — practically everyone is going through an identity crisis. The whole fucking planet's trying to figure out who they are and why they're here. And so are we."

Ad-Rock looks back:  "If we were still acting like fools at a party, I don't think we would have lasted, do you?...We are the same band, but we've had enough maturity - we've gone through changes. That's one of the things about the band I'm in. We don't always do the same thing. Each time, it makes me happy to do what we do...That thing is very interesting to me, because it's such an issue with some people - "Is hip-hop going to last?" For 20 years, there's been billions and billions of rap records sold. Everyone at this point is inspired by hip-hop, anyone making popular music, anyway. That gets me going. I think rap is like jazz, an elastic form of music."

'Ill Communication' brought the Beastie Boys back to the top of the US album charts for the first time since their debut.  It also went to number thirty-one in the Netherlands, twelve in Switzerland, eleven in Germany, ten in the UK, eight in Australia, seven in Sweden, six in New Zealand, and number two on the US R&B album chart.  


The video for 'Sabotage' was directed by Spike Jonze. 

I can't stand it, I know you planned it
I'm gonna set it straight, this Watergate
I can't stand rocking when I'm in here
'Cause your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear
So while you sit back and wonder why
I got this fucking thorn in my side
Oh my God, it's a mirage
I'm tellin' y'all, it's a sabotage
So, so, so, so listen up 'cause you can't say nothin'
You'll shut me down with a push of your button?
But you, I'm out and I'm gone
I'll tell you now, I keep it on and on
'Cause what you see you might not get
And we can bet, so don't you get souped yet
You're scheming on a thing that's a mirage
I'm trying to tell you now, it's sabotage
Our backs are now against the wall?
Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage
Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage
Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage
Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage
I can't stand it, I know you planned it
I'm gonna set it straight, this Watergate
Lord, I can't stand rockin' when I'm in this place
Because I feel disgrace because you're all in my face
But make no mistakes and switch up my channel
I'm Buddy Rich when I fly off the handle
What could it be, it's a mirage
You're scheming on a thing, that's sabotage

"Sure Shot"

'Ill Communication' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Beastie Boys except where indicated.

1. "Sure Shot" (Beastie Boys, Caldato, DJ Hurricane) 3:19
2. "Tough Guy" (AWOL, Beastie Boys) 0:57
3. "B-Boys Makin' with the Freak Freak"   3:36
4. "Bobo on the Corner" (Beastie Boys, Bobo, Money Mark) 1:13
5. "Root Down"   3:32
6. "Sabotage"   2:58
7. "Get It Together" (featuring Q-Tip) 4:05
8. "Sabrosa" (Beastie Boys, Bobo, Money Mark) 3:29
9. "The Update" (Beastie Boys, Caldato, Money Mark) 3:15
10. "Futterman's Rule" (Beastie Boys, Money Mark) 3:42
11. "Alright Hear This"   3:06
12. "Eugene's Lament" (Beastie Boys, Bobo, Gore, Money Mark) 2:12
13. "Flute Loop" (Beastie Boys, Caldato, Klemmer) 1:54
14. "Do It" (featuring Biz Markie) 3:16
15. "Ricky's Theme" (Beastie Boys, Bobo, Money Mark) 3:43
16. "Heart Attack Man" (AWOL, Beastie Boys) 2:14
17. "The Scoop" (Beastie Boys, Caldato) 3:36
18. "Shambala" (Beastie Boys, Bobo, Money Mark) 3:40
19. "Bodhisattva Vow" (Beastie Boys, Caldato) 3:08
20. "Transitions" (Beastie Boys, Money Mark)  2:31

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