by Gavin Mead ’15 and C. F. Collison ’15
Although we’ve been privy to the fact that Cam’ron will be performing at the Horn Gallery this Saturday for quite some time, it still hasn’t sunk in yet. Whether you know him as Cam, Killa, Flea, or Cameron Giles, when you sit back and really think about it, isn’t Purple Haze your favorite rap album ever? To think that Cam will be performing an intimate show on our own college campus doesn’t even seem real. What have any of us done to deserve this pure gift?
By C. F. Collison
Earlier this week, Kenyon alumnus and Noisey contributor Brendan O’Connor ’12 wrote a feature detailing the history of rap lyrics being used in court trials against their authors.
O’Connor received input from various noteworthy scholars on the issue, who commented on the criminal justice system, the nature of authenticity in rap lyrics, and legal prejudice against black performers. O’Connor also spoke with rapper Killer Mike, who performed at Kenyon’s own Horn Gallery in 2012 and is currently one-half of Run The Jewels, the recently lauded moniker he performs under along with rapper / producer El-P. A portion of the article is included below:
by Gavin Mead ’15
The previous two installments of Spooktober Soundtracks has been focused on distinct eras in the history of horror films, attempting to provide a look into exploitation horror of the 70s, exemplified by the Giallo movement in Italy, and the surge in dark underground films in the 80s, as led by the work of John Carpenter. The world of horror movies in our current day and age is interesting in that mainstream horror has become completely solidified as a genre. Horror directors are no longer working on the outskirts of the movie industry, and horror films have become huge cash cows for the major film studios and staples in their annual wave of summer blockbusters. Not only has this stifled experimentation in plot and visuals, but the scores for these movies have also become much more predictable as well by using the same jump-scare tactics and canned strings that were introduced to the genre over 20 years ago.
While this decline in quality in blockbuster horror movies is unfortunate, really interesting work is going on in independent film. Horror directors have delved back into the underground, using experimental tactics that in many ways make it difficult to distinguish their work from that of arthouse cinema. The composers of these films have followed suit, melding together references to the sound of horror’s past while also moving in more experimental directions, drawing from recent trends in electronic and contemporary classical music.
Here are a few of my personal favorite horror soundtracks of the 2010s so far:
By C. F. Collison
Name: Natalie Reneau
Show Title: Hell’s Baguette, Mondays 8-10PM
Hometown: Great Falls, VA
Major: English Major, Latin@ Studies Concentrator, Studio Art Minor
CC: First off, what are the titular “Hell’s Baguettes”?
NR: First off, it’s “Hell’s Baguette”. Last semester, when I DJed with Emma Specter ’15 and Rebecca Saltzman ’15, it was “Hell’s Baguettes” – plural. Now that it’s just me, I’ve switched it back to the singular. I’ve never told anyone what Hell’s Baguette means, but I’ll tell you this – it’s something between a moniker and a mantra
by Tom Loughney ’16
A friend of mine recently asked me about how I defined flow and its importance, and it got me thinking a bit on my experience with qualifying flow. When I first began exploring hip-hop critiques, most everyone utilized the term without ever really explaining what it was or what it meant. I remember my frustration with the nebulous use and nature of the word, so hopefully my thoughts will help those just starting out with hip-hop to gain a general sense of the ideas and importance behind flow.
by Tom Loughney ’16
Clipping is a Los Angeles hip-hop trio comprised of William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes, and MC Daveed Diggs. Full admission: I’ve never heard their first record; however, their newest release – the vowel-deficient CLPPNG – has me excited to check out their other work.
Far and away, the boldest, most characteristic aspect of this album is the production’s industrial sensibilities. The instrumentation is fantastically rich – each song manages to express the raw energy of the genre, while simultaneously avoiding any unduly abrasive textures. This is especially impressive given the inherently harsh sound of many of the tools and items they sample.
TUNES FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: A SUMMER PLAYLIST FOR SUNBURNT DAYS AND EQUALLY SUNBURNT NIGHTS (alternatively titled: one redhead’s peril)
by Erin Delaney
1. History Eraser – Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett’s first record (or rather two EPs released together), The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas is full of quintessential summer lazy tunes. Barnett’s slacker rock aesthetic is effortless, yet her lyrics are consistently witty and pointed. Also, dat Australian accent.
2. I Was Born (A Unicorn) – The Unicorns
And where would summer be without some good old early 2000s lo-fi indie? This whole album, Who Will Cut Our Hair When Your Gone? soundtracked my finals last semester and is recommended for driving, bicycling, and getting rid of cysts.
by Adam Brill ’17
Michael Gira is a man unafraid to follow his instincts wherever they take him. Gira’s biography alone can tell you this. He hitchhiked through Europe, ended up in Israel, and spent four months in prison for selling drugs all before his 18th birthday. Gira eventually received his GED, went to art school in LA, and moved to New York City to start a band, Circus Mort. He recorded one EP with Circus Mort, and then promptly disbanded the group to start a second project, Swans. Swans’ early releases were marked by heavy abrasive sounds and little melody or tonality. Eventually, female vocalist and devoted Swans follower Jarboe joined Gira. Jarboe’s presence lead the group to soften their sound a bit in favor of more sophisticated songwriting and textures. Gira also quit alcohol and found Jesus, which obviously influenced the songwriting on their 1987 release, Children of God. This album is, in many ways, the most important release in Swans’ career. It marked the first album with acoustic guitars, melodic vocals, strings, and woodwind instruments. Thematically, the album shows Gira’s religious influences. Instead of purely pounding noises, Children of God is much more musically varied. This allows for more interesting song dynamics and ultimately makes the music a lot more listenable. The releases following Children of God continued to explore this newfound songwriting style. In 1996, Swans released their supposedly final album, Soundtracks for the Blind. This gargantuan release (a whopping 2 hours and 20 minutes) was by far their weirdest, longest, and most ambitious release. Musically, Soundtracks for the Blind, runs the gambit from post rock textures to noise to gothic rock to bizarre sampled skits while still maintain a consistent vision throughout. Many publications referred to the album as the band’s masterpiece. It seemed like a fitting and apropos way to go out for one of rock’s most forward thinking outfits of the past 10 years.
by Jack Washburn ’16
When you have a bizarre, anxiety-ridden dream, there’s always the impulse to share it with someone you’re close to, hoping that reliving the surreal experience will help to elucidate its relevance to your life. After all, this anxiety is arising from somewhere; if we can just articulate it with some degree of efficacy, then perhaps we’ll reach a greater understanding of its source.
Inevitably, these explanations of experiences with an already tenuous grasp on our consciousness always come out wrong. We have to stop and start repeatedly, we can arrive at the general feeling of the dream somewhat, but specifics inherently remain a bit fuzzy, and we might find ourselves adding fabricated plot elements to make the stories seem more interesting and linear, oftentimes without even realizing we’re doing so. And then we don’t know where we’ve ended up, feeling disappointed, as though we’ve wasted our listener’s time.
by Tom Loughney ’16
So the other day, Death Grips dropped the first half of their upcoming double album, The Powers that B. True to form, they released it with neither pomp nor circumstance, and I’m kind of glad they did – had there been any hype, I think I would have come away from this record feeling disappointed. The LP, titled Niggas on the Moon, is a bit of a mixed bag. The instrumentation is consistently interesting, and MC Ride’s ruinous voice returns to the forefront of the group; however, many of the same uninspired songwriting techniques from the lackluster Government Plates make a return as well. This record is definitely a step in the right direction, but it still lacks the awe-inspiring POWER of previous Death Grips releases.