Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Bloody Beetroots

I love the Bloody Beetroots... 1, 2, WHOOP, WHOOP... 31 Seconds... DESTROY...

If you haven't figured it out by now I love the Bloody Beetroots and they hold the spotlight on this entry. The brainchild of Bob Cornelius Rifo, the Bloody Beetroots are the production and performance alias of Rifo and his partner in crime DJ Tommy Tea. Specializing in hard, and I mean hard (HARD), beats and classical-esque melodies, the Bloody Beetroots are a masterpiece of musical genius.

Bob Rifo is, admittedly, my favorite producer of electronic music. Scratch that. My favorite producer of music. Period. Born in 1977, as a child he was introduced to classical music. Chopin, Beethoven and Debussy. As he and his taste for music grew he became affected by other influences: Punk Rock music and the outrageous imagery of comic artists.

Sir Bob began to experiment. He now focused his ability on producing a sound that combined his classical roots with samples, electro and hardcore 80s' punk/new wave. Late in 2006 the Bloody Beetroots were formed. In 2008, just two years after the inception, Rifo had released 2 studio albums (Romborama and Cornelius) and 45 remixes. Now, Rifo has teamed up with Steve Aoki of Dim Mak records to create The Bloody Beetroots - Death Crew 1977 and has released another studio album: Rifoki.

How to describe?... Well... It's as if the Misfits, Beethoven and Daft Punk fucked at a rave and created the bastard child of Electro, Classical and Punk that is The Bloody Beetroots. The Beetroots are all over the map.

They have songs like "Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi" and "The Death of Cornelius" where a heavy classical influence can be heard; 1:49 into the former there is a cello solo. Then there is the "Speed Racer Theme" remix (The first song I heard by them).

"Domino" , the release track for Rifoki (Rifo and Aoki's 2010 project), is heavily influenced by Punk culture; Style, ideology and music. It's the story of a radical anarchist leaders' escape from a top secret government facility during the Jimmy Carter presidency. The highlight of the song, for me, is when Rifo yells "DESTROY!" right before the beat drops. In the video Rifo is the anarchist leader and he screams it in the face of his captors as he escapes.

The Beetroots original tunes are amazing but I think it's the remixes released under their name that truly exhibits Rifo's musical genius. Song's like "Pistols and Hearts" by Captain Phoenix, "Dimmakmmunication" a remix of Timbaland, "La Mano Mia Inst", "Cobrastyle" by Robyn and "Cheap and Cheerful" by The Kills.

The Bloody Beetroots are my absolute favorite.

Enjoy the Music.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Basement Show

I'm a self taught musician. I started on guitar when I was around 12. I asked my father for the basic open chords (A,D,G,E,C) and picked it up from there. A year later I got my first guitar, I had been learning on my fathers Stratocaster; It was a 1961 Les Paul Reissue, more commonly known as the SG (Solid Guitar). We got a drum set for my brothers 13th birthday and whenever he wasn't practicing I would dick around on it. In my middle-school days I started a two-piece rock group with a childhood friend of mine. We expanded to a four-piece in high school with two other childhood friends of ours, I played lead guitar. We played shows and were even on television. We broke up because of internal and external drama. Towards the end of our run we outed our bassist and I took the role. I began to love bass.

At this time I identify as a bassist. When anyone asks me about my music I tell them I play bass. After the band broke up I didn't really play with anyone for three years. I probably jammed three times with friends during that period. That averages out to one jam session every year.

My brother and my old bands rhythm guitarist had started a folk comedy group after the break up. They likened themselves to Flight of the Concords. Over the three years I wasn't active I tried to join them but rivalry with my brother made him bitter towards me for so many reasons. Long story short, they asked me to play a show at a venue in the northern part of town on June 25th. By this time they weren't folk comedy anymore. Indie rock.

We wrote up a set list along with some options for if we ran short. We practiced. We were so excited. On June 21st I got a call saying that our drummer had broken his wrist. The next day our guitarist found out he had mono. Everything was looking grim, but we still wanted to try it. Then, on June 23rd my brother called me, the show was cancelled. Apparently, the guy who runs the joint is a huge douche bag. He cancelled our acts because we didn't provide him with enough time to advertise. We were left with a show all ready, but nowhere to put it on. My girlfriend got the idea of playing it in our basement. I called my brother and told him to invite everyone he could. Only about 20 people were able to make it on such short notice but it still kicked ass. We played our asses off.

Two of my old band mates and I are currently working on a new project to continue what we started in middle school. I'm back and active in the music world again.

Still to come: The Bloody Beetroots.

Enjoy the Music.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


A quick sample of what's to come:

The hard Electro rhythms of Bob Rifo's Bloody Beetroots. The pumping Disco influenced house productions of Fred Falke. The Chiptune melodies of Ethan Kath's Crystal Castles. The Retro style of the French duo Justice.

To hold you over for now:
Justice - Planisphere Final
The Bloody Beetroots - Warp 1.9 (Ft. Steve Aoki)
Fred Falke - Golden Cage (Remix of Whitest Boy Alive)
Crystal Castles - Magic Spells

Enjoy the Music.

Getting Started

Every production needs the right beat at it's core. A simple bass and clap just simply won't do. It's something I've noticed at the heart of all my favorite tunes and something I've noticed is lacking in most that do not enjoy. Composition of the right rhythm and production of the right sound for each instrument is key. Most songs have a certain tone or theme within them, I find the best productions have a beat to fit this theme. For example, Crystal Castles samples old 8-bit synthesizers or emulates them; for his beats he uses static noise and retro 8-bit console drum samples to produce their drum kits, instead of using the raw sound of a drum set in his basement. It's just my opinion, but shit needs to match. It's just wrong to have a beautiful and calm melody that you could fall asleep to with a hard club beat behind it.

Following the beat comes the bassline. It doesn't matter whether it's a bass synth or an actual person slappin' that shit, it just needs to carry the song; It has to be powerful. The problem I have with most electronic music, Electro and Dubstep specifically, is when the Producers use choppy bass lines. Sometimes a chopped up, all over the place bass line can work -- Justice is a great example of this -- but most, in my experience, can not get the job done. Some Producers have the talent to produce a choppy bass line that still carries the power of the song, some don't.

Melodies are where the real producing genius comes into play. In my opinion there are no "rules" set in my head for what works and what doesn't. There's no "test" a song needs to pass, no prerequisites to attain for me to give it a chance like with the aforementioned. Creative genius is appreciated and each producer will sound different because of theirs, it's what makes them interesting.

Quick ramblings to get a feel for where I'll be going. In my reviews and postings on Artists, Albums and Songs I'll go more in-depth and elaborate on those three key points above.

Enjoy the Music.