08/July/09 Filed in: DJ Fundiduster
Part 2 of my Michael Jackon Tribute series picks up where Part 1 ends, delving back in to the "Thriller" era before committing to an extended appreciation of "Bad" and then dropping in on a fast-paced, booty-rockin' exploration of MJ's underappreciated Late Period. I had no idead he was still putting out such amazing and ground-breaking music post-"Bad," tracks like "Scream", "They Don't Care About Us", "2 Bad", "Xscape" and "Jam." Like Part 1, this mix tells the MJ story through nontraditional tracks: home demos, remixes, dubs and rare tracks. I've been listening to both constantly these past 2 weeks, with mad appreciation for MJ's gift of groove to the world.
Against my better judgement, I had to start a third (and hopefully final!) installment in the tribute series. As I was mixing this one up, I kept finding amazing remixes and rarities online, but I wanted Part 2 to come in at under 80 minutes so it could be burned to CD, and the incoming rush of MJ music had to spill over in to a 3rd mix. A Michael Jackson "Trilogy" was unplanned when I first started out, but that is what this process has naturally evolved in to, so there it is. The man just put out too much great music -- blame it on the boogie!
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01/July/09 Filed in: DJ Fundiduster
What could Burning Man and Michael Jackson possibly have in common? No jokes about how his hair exploded in to a flameball during the filming of that Pepsi commercial, please. I'm being serious here, and have thought about this question hard over the past week since learning of the King of Pop's passing to the other side. I've been thinking about the things I appreciate most about Burning Man -- freedom of expression, originality, devotion to creativity, genuineness, heart and soul, being brave enough to fully embody one's true self -- and feel like these qualities all came together in MJ and his music.
I felt moved to celebrate the gifts he gave to this world by making a musical mix that explores the evolution of the artist from his early career to the end. This musical journey starts with some selections from the Jackson 5, of course, before exploring Michael Jackson's early solo career, with a multifaceted look at "Off the Wall" and his original melding of disco grooves with Motown soul. Eventually, we reach "Thriller," looking at half of the album's hits from various different perspectives, before running out of time at the 79:45 mark -- just the right length to be able to burn this mix to CD. Part two, to be released in a couple of weeks, picks up with the second half of Thriller and runs through various side projects and the most intriguing sounds from his later releases.
Now, those listeners looking for a run-through of his greatest hits can, well, purchase or dig out his many "Greatest Hits" collections. In other words, this ain't your mamas Michael Jackson. The mix is built on alternate takes, mash-ups, early home demos, interviews and, especially, remixes. There are many, many remixes of Michael floating around out there in cyberspace, and I chose a wide variety of reinterpretations: some ready to bump your booty, some corny and others just plain weird.
I reveled in the wide, creative diversity of remixes that MJ inspired, and listening to them over the past week, it dawned on me just how universal his music was -- there was an essential DNA of heart, soul and groove in just about everything he performed, and those core elements were able to be fit in and reprogramed in all kinds of musical scenarios. House, reggae, grunge, glitch, ambient -- Michael's words and voice sounded natural in so many different genres and environments, in part because it was so real. And I guess that is why he was loved the whole world over -- his gift of song was universal. It touched the heart and moved the booty, no matter what culture or creed.
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(More commentary after the jump...)