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The Birth of the Mile High Meltdown Compilation v.1
Before Listening, Prepare Yourself to be Hypnotized by a Computer
What do I mean by this? This album is composed of songs produced by the use of electronic music programs, not actual instruments you're used to seeing a band rock out with at a concert. This is one big reason why electronic music is misinterpreted by many people. Unless the artist is physically playing an instrument, many believe that music isn't really music if it's just a bunch of different sounds mixed together by a computer. But isn't the person behind the computer screen doing all the real work? Right. Don't think it takes much to create a high quality song solely through the use of a computer? Wrong. I'm about to prove that common belief to be false by thoroughly breaking down some of the incredible songs dropped on this album and describing each individual sound so that you as a reader can easily imagine the amount of work that goes in to creating an electronic masterpiece.
Just the Typical
Brainstorm Colorado ft. Micstatic
Kruza Kid & VibeSquaD
Kyma Muse (w/schteeze)
Thoughts of Summer
Papa Skunk & Mass Relay
ProJect Aspect & Kruza Kid
Thank the Music
Leaf Veins (Resonant Language remix)
Get Down on the Ground
The Digital Connection
Link to Mile High Meltdown Compilation v.1 Album
Dissecting the Tracks
Carefully picking out certain parts of the songs might seem a little monotonous, but don't worry! I'm not about to give a play-by-play for all 25 songs on the album. A lot of them share the same elements so I have chosen a few of my personal favorites to break down. The individual songs all have something different added to them that make them especially unique. However, there are other tracks on the album that may share the same qualities, I'm just using the ones I felt were the the best to use as examples.
- Mostly Jesus by Atomic Reactor
- Alpha Centauri by Lost Optical
- Thank the Music by ProJect Aspect & Kruza Kid
- Neck Check by Unlimited Gravity
Clearly, I am an electronic music advocate if I'm trying to convince people to extend their basic musical interests and give this genre one good chance to prove itself to be as beautiful as I'm making it out to be. The artists chosen to be part of the collective, Mile High Sound Movement, aren't just people who spend a lot of time on their computers. Although that is certainly a big part of it, it takes talent, skill, and hours of practice to truly be able to create a solid electronic song from scratch.
In each song featured on this album, I can definitely tell these musically inclined geniuses really know what they're doing. To generally describe the album as a whole, I put together one complex sentence that might seem foreign now, but I promise it will definitely make a lot more sense at the end of the article.
- It is an intricate combination of futuristic elements consisting of lasers, dynamic overlaying guitar chords, and dub womps and wobbles, accompanied by heavy basslines and "kick drum, clap" sequences that originate from the roots of dubstep, hip hop, drum and bass, glitch hop, and trap.
Mostly Jesus by Atomic Reactor
Intro: Melody kicks in right away as a high pitched "squeaky" kind of sound with a slight reverb (echo) accompanied by the imitation of a scratch on a record, followed by a sequence of bass drums/808's and claps. There is also a melody that is harmonious with the initial main melody, that uses the flanger tool to make it sound hollow. I won't dig deep into the mechanics behind this tool, but to describe it simply, it seems to drag in and out or "swirl" the sound to morph it into a more hollow sound than how it would originally be.
Buildup: Claps and bassline increases in tempo, and a vocal sample becomes more clear as the song begins to drop. This one happens to be a portion of the lyrics from an old school Snoop Dog song, "Drop it Like it's Hot".
Climax (the drop): A long, dragged out heavy bass sound of an 808 adds a dramatic effect for the transition into the main chorus. The original melody kicks back in, this time accompanied by a liquid-like shuffle placed accordingly to the beat. The spin off of the Snoop Dog vocal sample is placed after every few measures to ensure that it does not get overused.
Verse 2: It begins much like the tempo and composition of the introduction, but with a few twists off the original sound elements. The melody has more of an echo followed by the notes in the background that makes it sound futuristic. More bass is added and soon becomes the main melody as it forms into deep chords in correspondence with liquid dubstep sounds. Dubstep uses various sounds to create an intense syncopated rhythm with an abundance of bass to add more of a dramatic effect.
Outro: All sounds from the climax stay consistent with each other, but gradually one by one, each sound stops playing until there is the single melody that opened the song in the very beginning. The song closes out with that melody with a longer reverb effect added to it to drag the listener out with it. Many artists use this technique to leave their fans wanting more.
- Mostly Jesus | The Mile High Sound Movement
Mostly Jesus by Atomic Reactor, released 29 November 2014
Alpha Centauri by Lost Optical
Since I've already described the structure of a typical song (which can be applied to all genres of music) I won't be that descriptive. I will instead go over how it is unique, and what kind of specific sounds are used in this track. This song uses origins from the electronic dance music sub-genre: drum and bass. The name "drum and bass" pretty much describes itself. Lots of drum samples and basslines syncopated to form a catchy, consistent beat throughout the track. With electronic music, the drums are held at one volume and only change when the sound is dropped out altogether. Whereas real drummers add crescendos to intensify their sound making it more noticeable.
In correspondence to the drum and bass rhythm, Lost Optical uses guitar riffs to create their melody which adds more of a "real" effect to the song. The drop uses laser-like sounds and dub noises to form one heavy, harsh (in a good way) beat that makes it almost impossible not to dance to.
- Alpha Centauri | The Mile High Sound Movement
Alpha Centauri by Lost Optical, released 29 November 2014
Thank the Music by ProJect Aspect & Kruza Kid
This song is pretty simple to break down but the lyrics really hit a soft spot within me so I felt like I needed to specifically share this. If you like hip-hop/rap/R&B then this track will most likely be one of your favorites off the album. The lyrics tell a story about how his life revolves around music and how it's helped get him through hard times and reach success.
For the more musical composition break down, it keeps a hip-hop rhythm but adds lots of cool accent sounds like shutters, violin ensembles, piano melodies, snare and kick drums, and claps. The combination of these sounds create an intricate background for the lyrics to flow with. It's generally a very upbeat, and happy tune that emotionally hit me because music has been the focal point of my life since as long as I can remember. Give this one a listen twice; once for the lyrics, and once for the musical composition.
- Thank The Music | The Mile High Sound Movement
Thank The Music by ProJect Aspect & Kruza Kid, released 29 November 2014
Neck Check by Unlimited Gravity
This one will probably be the most challenging to analyze if you're not familiar with different types of electronic music. In my opinion, it resembles dubstep more than any other song on the album. The structure is still the same, but the sounds are just so different and much, MUCH heavier than most of the album. The only way I can verbally describe a typical sound heard in a dubstep song are by the words: womps, wubs, and wobbles. I've always been a petty huge dubstep fan. It's actually the genre that pulled me into electronic dance music.
Although it has no lyrics, these types of songs can impact you in some way. For me, pure dubstep naturally makes me feel more excited (or angry if I'm already in a bad mood) just because of how intense it can be. I actually have gotten pulled over driving on the highway because I was listening to dubstep super loud which stimulated me to drive faster. Funny story now, but not so much at the time! Just an example of how songs without lyrics can still have some sort of effect on the listener.
- Neck Check | The Mile High Sound Movement
Neck Check by Unlimited Gravity, released 29 November 2014
One Last Thing: It's Not "Just a Bunch of Noise"
I can't even begin to provide an approximate number of times I've been told that the kind of music I love and listen to is "just a bunch of noise". The more I heard this phrase, the more I tried to figure out why people don't give all types of music a chance. People in the generations above me tend to assume that any electronically produced song isn't original, or high-quality and therefor shouldn't be considered real music. I've come to the conclusion that those who are convinced that this statement is true, are incredibly close minded which really just makes me feel sorry for them. They're missing out on an entirely new world of remarkable music that can really emotionally move people if they just give it a chance.
Electronic music may not be the most interesting genre performance wise, but if you actually break down the songs in your head as you listen, you will begin to understand why it is becoming so popular with people of this generation. The many different uses of technology throughout the world is truly astounding. Since technology is so relevant, why not apply it to music and art? Each song takes an innumerable amount of time to produce as you can tell by the many different sounds used throughout the track. For instance, try listening to any song on this album and count how many different sounds you hear from start to finish. These sounds usually group together in elements of about five at a time. With electronic music, less is more. If there's too much going on at once, then we'd be proving those who think it's "just a bunch of noise" to be right, and we certainly don't want that. (:
Hope the breakdown of this awesome new album helped you get a feel for the kind of music MHSM is trying to spread to the world. Understanding the genre helps the listener gain a genuine respect and appreciation for the work that goes into making a single song. So if I was able to accurately explain why electronic music isn't "just a bunch of noise", awesome. That was precisely my goal!
Until next time!