The end is near

7/04/2011 10:33:00 PM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

           Two final projects remain for me under the Iron Lung moniker. The “death” of Lung has been delayed by the death of an external hard drive carrying the entire last two projects. The irony. I haven’t written anything new as Lung and I don’t plan on it. I will continue to do music but as LAMEBOT, which is more production and DJ based. But anyway back to Lung news.
           The first of the last two projects is “The Serpent And The Rainbow” a three-track single that is kind of like a play. Each track tells a part of the story, and if listened to separately, the vibe changes. The first track is called the cycle and it provides the setting for the project. This record is definitely more sample based which is not at all how I normally do things, but you can check out the first track here.
The Cycle [TSATR EP Final ROUGH] by Iron Lung
            And now, the album you have all been waiting for, myself included, “F@wkYouLucy”. There is no album art yet since I want to make sure I can salvage all the songs and put out the record first. Luckily I was able to find one of the beats and knew the lyrics since I had been using it in live shows for awhile.
            I present to you, “Skeleton Dance”. I won’t be a douche and explain my weight point of view on what the song is about, but I will be nice enough to provide you with the lyrics. Scroll just under the video to see the lyrics and also download the mp3 for free.

I take another breath in hopes to dull whatever’s illing me. Despite the speed and several turns I still feel it breathing down my neck. Now I’m no worldly genius but I figure I can guess the shadows chasing my own dreams through my past have connects.

I got that dotted line reasoning, applying my own seasoning to flavor my own physics to taste better while I’m panicking and I eat my words as a fail safe against detention because even if they catch me my heart is still bedlam. O brother, when will I finally understand that a wicked way of life will always lead to tragic end? No matter. No illustrious path to blaze so then I lower brow in reverence as to never dream again. Spider web signature caught in between the seconds my eyes saw the innocence planted in your cadence and I quickly got the message and tried to keep up and fell through the cracks, I guess it’s not enough to want to dance with the skeletons filling up the closet. I got an itching in my inner being; a weight lifting off my conscious. I got a new hope rising with the dawning of this moment. Even though they wore it down I’ll say they never broke it. I am still here, petals plucked early, still within your grip to catch sunlight every morning. Love it or leave it either way you see it, it’s always and forever part of my ephemeral being.

Left foot, right foot, dancing with the skeletons implementing shadows over something barely relevant. It takes two to tango and three to make a stand so gather up in circle form and take them by the hand.

(Go) lined up and properly waiting for a sign to move among us until obviously we can’t see it. Surreptitious in it’s being, but still vaguely familiar and cold to the touch with boney fingers and a feeling like we’ve been here before. I recognize the special mixture of aromas. A cloud of kind words that only smelt of death elegantly wrapped its way around my neck. I stayed anxious, nervously still. Eyes closed trying to distract me from the image. Eyes opened up and it came in a flash. Is this what you wanted? Is this what you needed?

Back up for a second I need a little breathing room. My heart was palpitating four times above the usual. Usually when it does it doesn’t even matter since it always calms down when I chase it off with laughter as the best medicine; injection through the crevices seeking carnal judgment as a payment for their negligence. Never really noticed nothing special about the sentences simply put together to distinguish all the heaven sent moments. I was hoping you would notice my eyes dilated so no reason to be focused. Every screaming memory will randomly attack but if I let you go I no longer am attached so I’ll sprint free, but later down the line I’ll be back at square one with another chance to face it. Pull me out the ground with no regard to my health. You can pick me apart until completely desecrated but I am still here petals plucked early, still within your grip to catch sunlight every morning. Love it or leave it either way you see it, it’s always and forever part of my ephemeral being.

Left foot, right foot, dancing with the skeletons implementing shadows over something barely relevant. It takes two to tango and three to make a stand so gather up in circle form and take them by the hand.

           The video is actually footage I cut and spliced together from one of my favorite movies called “Raging Phoenix”. If you’re into martial arts movies, I recommend it. I don’t want to give away the plot but the martial arts used is fictional but funny enough something I had been imagining for years. It is actually a b-boy infused version of Mauy Thai Boran with a drunken edge. It looks a little bit like sloppy Capoeira. I started Capoeira because I wanted to be a better b-boy, but to be honest Mauy Thai is where my movements feel natural. So of course I started thinking of ways to combine all three. And then I saw this movie and I imploded. I survived my self-made black hole to bring you this song, this video, and the last two Iron Lung projects. I produced this whole track myself, played the keys and made the drums myself. I also recorded the whole thing at my home studio and mastered as well. All in all a lot of work so I really hope you guys enjoy this one.

Much love,

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2011 Sampler

6/05/2011 11:49:00 AM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

If you're even reading this right now, Thanks. You either follow my blog or you picked up a Sampler at a live show this year. Here is the track list so you know whats going on. the tabs on top of my blog will guide you to free stuff and please go ahead and LIKE the facebook page. Thanks again and I hope you enjoyed the Sampler and the show.
Peace ninjas,

Iron Lung Live Sampler 2011
Track List

Track Name - Artist - Album

Home – Iron Lung – Warning 12”
Warning – Iron Lung – Warning 12”
Neon (ft. Iron Lung) – Doctor P – Neon
This City (ft. Iron Lung) – DJ A.I. – Neo Gotham
Smile (Or I’ll Shoot ft. Lily Allen) – Iron Lung – 10 Reasons Why You Won’t Like Lung EP
Battle Cry (ft. Iron Lung) – Mr. Poison Hands – Underground Oddities Vol 1
Mirrors Facing Mirrors – Iron Lung – Underground Oddities Vol 2
Our Season – Iron Lung – Underground Oddities Vol 2
Hibernation – Iron Lung – Warning 12”
Grand Illusion (ft. Iron Lung) – Phil G – Iron Phil-aments
No Kings (All in Remix ft. Iron Lung) – EL-P – Juxtaposition
Citronella (Kids Remix ft. Iron Lung) – Aesop Rock – Juxtaposition
Grape Nuts and Chalk Sauce – Iron Lung – Juxtaposition
God Given (Lung Vishnu Remix) – Nine Inch Nails – NIN Remixes
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Lung Mega Mix) – Skrillex - Single

Strange Fruit

6/01/2011 07:02:00 PM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

"Southern trees bear strange fruit…” Billie Holiday’s voice carries with it a certain eminence of pain and sorrow that is unmistakable in her rendition of this song, that later turned out to be one of her most popular. For as long as I have been listening to jazz, Billie Holiday has remained as one of my favorite vocalists despite her lack of range. Her voice was raw and like the many great soloists, it was her defining characteristic that propelled her into being one of the greats.

            “Strange Fruit” was actually written by a Jewish couple about the savagery of lynching, which was still rampant in the South. Billie Holiday approached her label about doing a cover of the song but the label decided not to back it. This decision was more than likely a financial safety net, a way to not lose sales in the South by releasing a song that openly criticized it. Milt Gabler, a friend of hers, decided to help her release the song and her label issued a one session release in order for it to be possible.
The recording gives me chills each time. The instrumentation is crafted beautifully to give off a sensation of angst, and loneliness. Her vocals chime in and radiate from her soul. The lyrics paint a picture few wanted to admit as a reality. This is a quintessential example of music being a catalyst for change. Despite the sadness and pain in the words, it also expresses a call for solidarity.
Music has the power to move people. Music can unite and it can spark change. “Strange Fruit” is a testament to that. It became part of her live set and managed to maintain its power. The lyrics are poignant and the wordage is simple, making the song relatable and accessible. The live version varies a bit from the recorded version. It seems to be darker and more personal, somehow more romantic. This song found itself the perfect spokesperson in Billie Holiday, it not only helped garner her more acclaim but also brought attention to a social white elephant.

The Beauty Of It All - Black Tokyo EP Review

5/27/2011 06:55:00 PM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

             It’s the return of the one who never left; Black Tokyo is in the building folks. This guy has been making music for over a decade and recently underwent a name change amongst other things. The producer formerly known as Skott Phree has come back with a new name and a new plan of attack. Now bearing the Black Tokyo moniker, he seems to have shed some of the Skott Phree-isms and started fresh. Same old swing and swag, but the instrumentation is now wearing a freshly pressed button down shirt.

            “Mindstate” was the first EP out of the gate, but it seemed a bit like he was testing the waters to see how people took to the new tracks. “The Beauty Of It All” is his second effort under the new name and it starts and ends very smoothly and maintains the slightly off kilter swing groove we get from the likes of Dilla, and Doom. No, that wasn’t me saying he’s Dilla, that was just me trying to get you to hear something with your eyes.

            I really liked the entire EP. Perfect length, at just 8 tracks, it’s impossible to want to fast forward anything and also impossible to get bored to any one song. Compared to his older production, it seems like the chopping skills have improved yet again, and the drum layering has become more creative. The atmosphere throughout is one of a long car trip through the streets of Tokyo. While I have never been, I can be certain that when I do visit, this will be on my iPod.
            The soundscapes are majestic and simple all at once. Black Tokyo has seemed to have found a new balance and applying it to his sound. Take advantage while you can and download the entire EP for free. Download link here or copy paste this: and you can also follow him on facebook here Well folks, till next time, I'll keep you posted on what's going on with my record. Peace ninjas!

Second Impressions

5/11/2011 11:27:00 PM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

So I’m sure most of you know already, but I’m a real music lover. I recently went digging for records with my boy Dustin from Alien Orchestra and every record we took home was pure gold. I found and original pressing of the Peter and the Wolf Orchestral album, Herbie Hancock’s Man Child, a sick Pablo Cruise record, Los Angeles Negros instrumental LP, and even Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. We got a lot more but those were the ones I remember off the top of my head. We keep the vinyl at his house since the tables are there.
            This semester I’m taking a Jazz class and I found it funny when the professor said we don’t listen to jazz, we just listen to its offspring, hence hip hop, r&b, and what have you. Basically he was saying we don’t listen to real jazz artists. I can kind of excuse his generality but I couldn’t help but laugh a bit when I thought of the gigs of jazz music I had on my laptop sitting on my desk: Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sly and the Family Stone just to name a few.
            I also have the Mayer Hawthorne record. I first heard of him through the “Maybe So” single and I was hooked. It was revived Motown soul in an unassuming white boy.  After listening to the whole thing a few times over, I can say its really enjoyable if you’re into the real jazz and soul. I was stoked to see him keep the integrity of the music he plays by releasing an entire EP of cover songs for Free.99.
            Impressions. This record not only showcases his live band on a few tracks, but also his diverse musical tastes by choosing to do songs by artists who are vastly different. He goes from the Isley Brothers to Chromeo without losing a beat. My favorite song has to be the Chromeo cover. you might have to peep the original to really appreciate it. The song, the story, the chilled out rendition, the eerie vibe, its perfect. A cover of "Mr. Blue Sky" is the last song on the EP and it was actually recorded live in one take, true to jazz form. I really like it, it’s a good song period. It may help that I’m in love with Lily Allen’s version (well maybe just Lily Allen herself) but yeah, one take! What’s that? You don’t believe me? Ok fine, here’s the video of that very song… asshole.

Dope right? Here is his write up describing the record.

1. Work To Do
This one features my live band, The County: Quentin Joseph on drums, Topher Mohr on guitar, Quincy McCrary on piano, and Joe Abrams on bass. It was recorded live in a radio station studio somewhere during our Winter 2010 US tour. The tapes recently surfaced, but nobody can remember exactly where we were. The song is originally by The Isley Brothers, and that’s the only version I was familiar with until we started playing it in our live shows and people would come up to us and say “hey, loved your cover of Average White Band!”.

2. Don’t Turn The Lights On
My favorite track from Chromeo’s latest LP. On the surface it’s an electro-funk, dance floor filler, but underneath is a brilliant love ballad with lyrics that reminded me of something from Tyrone Davis. Dave1 (of Chromeo) told me the song is about a guy who falls in love with a ghost, so I wanted my version to have an eerie, ghostly feel to it. Quincy McCrary played the creepy piano solo at the end.

3. You’ve Got The Makings Of A Lover
Textbook Northern Soul from a little known Dallas, Texas group called The Festivals. I was digging for records in NY with my homey DJ Kurse, and the shopkeeper played the 45 in the store. Both of us immediately ran up to the counter and said “yo! what is THAT?!”. The original version was recorded in the late 60s, and the mix isn’t very good. I wanted a version that I could bump. Quentin Joseph played the drums and we recorded them at Sam Beaubien’s studio in Detroit. That’s Sam playing the trumpet as well.

4. Fantasy Girl
This song was written and composed by an amazing man from Pasadena named Steve Salazar. He was born with a heart condition and passed away at the young age of 27. Before he died he recorded one incredible album of demos in the mid-70s with a band called Shorty’s Portion. Peanut Butter Wolf found a copy of the album and I loved it so much that he gave it to me (thanks Wolf!). The vinyl had a handwritten note tucked in the sleeve that was addressed to anyone who could help the band with management, a record deal, radio airplay, etc. I’d estimate there were less than 300 copies pressed. That’s my Dad playing pedal steel guitar and Topher Mohr shredding the guitar solo on my version.

5. Little Person
Jon Brion is not from this planet. He penned this song for the soundtrack to Charlie Kaufman’s film “Synecdoche, NY”. I didn’t get the film at all, but I really got the soundtrack. The original has only female vocal and piano, but I always heard a larger arrangement. Hubert Alexander played some of the piano and I did everything else.

6. Mr. Blue Sky
This one also features my band, The County, and was recorded live, in one take, in a tiny makeshift tent, at a festival in Dour, Belgium.

Mary Anne Hobbs in Miami!

4/23/2011 09:27:00 PM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

Wow this show was such a hodge-podge of styles. The order was all sorts of fucked and honestly I’m glad we showed up super late. Kids if you learn anything from this post, it's to NEVER show up on time to a show in Miami unless it involves free drinks/entrance. We were two hours late and still saw the opening act. We kind of wish we didn’t though. Gonjasufi was easily the worst act that night. No lie, his music was fire but his weird off-kilter vocals were more of a distraction then a compliment to his already weird tracks. I found myself trying to mentally EQ his voice out of the tracks. A lot of his stuff is hit or miss, but it was something better suited for headphones or as background noise at a quiet getty, than as part of a live show, it just did not seem to work. On the other hand, Take had a good set but blatantly ignored all of Miami when he asked if we wanted to hear another song. We just suffered through Gonjasufi and we could see Mary Anne Hobbs prepping, of course we didn’t want another one! Although it was pretty cool that he was making tracks on the fly off the LSVJ (that’s a circuit bent Gameboy for those who don’t know).  Mary Anne Hobbs … put it the fuck DOWN!! Her set was pretty damn dope. Saying it was diverse would be an understatement. She threw down everything from tech-house to Dubstep and dance hall and back (she was also hotter than expected)! It was the only time the back room in vagabonds wasn’t standing around. Lorn was a decent act, but I think he should have gone before MAH because his stuff is just darker all around and not as danceable. All and all it was a good night assuming you did like every other red blooded Miamian and pre-gamed before the show. Fuck $8 beers! The godmother of Dubstep blessed Miami and I was there. It was an awesome night…  Oh except for that one bitch was too old to be at the club in the first place. And if she wasn’t too old, stop smoking ‘cause damn! She was dressed like she just got off work at Mangos throwing down salsa moves and stiff ass wave action to dub and house, without a care in the world as to who was next to her. Her friends obviously failed to correct the situation, which would explain why she was there alone. At one point she hit her head on my chest and kept dancing like nothing happened. we had to brace ourselves like it was a mosh pit, but it was just one lady who was not going to let her 20's die. Dear lady who was too old to be at Vagabonds and obviously too geeked up to notice when you hit people dancing, whatever you were on, I want some!

Love is, what I got... You're addicted

3/23/2011 05:56:00 PM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

The brain is composed of billions and billions of neurons that form its neural net. We tend to map emotions, thoughts and experiences through the laws of associative memory, wherein all memories and emotions are connected to each other. We build our concepts from our experiences and they are housed in this network. For instance, for a specific individual, love may be mapped to a feeling of sadness, a memory of pain, which may cause anger and keep the domino effect eventually leading back to the initial love concept. Our models are constantly changing along with our experiences, like a constant update. The more and more specific sections of the network fire together, they build a stronger relationship. Emotions are made to be chemically reinforced, the hypothalamus will release chemical cocktails tailor made to each emotion. These neuro-peptides attach to receptors in our bodies and our chemical romance begins. Like the neuronal net, we develop long-term relationships to chemical reactions; we become junkies from our own emotions. Love, whatever your concept of it may be, becomes a simple dependency to our self-made drug.

Cauchy and the Beauty of Abstract Math

3/20/2011 02:27:00 AM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

It seems at times human arrogance can stifle our own evolution and mental growth. There are instances when we must step back, remove our assumptions and accept the flagrant facts.  Our own beliefs can hinder our success if we are not willing to let go of them to seek truth. Some of history’s greatest minds had to over come such obstacles, struggling to balance out new knowledge with old habits. Einstein struggled with the contradiction of his personal beliefs and his theory of relativity, which also served to promote the idea of a dynamic universe. Cauchy had to endure some of the same as his political beliefs were more often then not, highly unpopular. Through Cauchy’s unique upbringing, he was able to have a mindset for logic and engineering, allowing him to propose the stress tensor and theory of elasticity, which have helped to shape our modern world.
Born in 1789 to affluent parents, Agustin-Louis Cauchy and his family relocated to Arcueli just one month after the start of the French Revolution. His schooling was domineering at best and undoubtedly shaped his formative thinking and logic. After placing second out of 293 students for the Ecole Polytechnique entrance exams, Cauchy had to put his own outlooks aside in order to excel, as the school function under military discipline. It was at this point when Cauchy turned his attention to civil engineering, and the math world would never be the same.
After a brief engineering stint and two published manuscripts, Cauchy began to shift his attention to more abstract forms of mathematics. Among the most noticeable milestones of his early work, is his theory of series, which was instrumental in developing the idea of convergence and other principles in limits. He soon moved onto complex functions and rigorous notations.
As humans, we sometimes forget to think about our own frailty. In fact we tend to think of ourselves as rigid bodies, a thought we tend to project towards other mediums. Cauchy helped usher in a new way of thinking in mechanics. He proposed that when a body meets an external force, it deforms, and starts a process to attempt to regain its previous form. This would mean that bodies are not rigid, but instead are malleable to an extent. This was just the tip of the iceberg for Cauchy, but it was the beginning of the theory of elasticity. A theory that spawned in the midst of continuum mechanics, it began by ignoring the fact that matter is composed of atoms, and indeed not continuous, a continuum concept assumes that the substance of the body is distributed uniformly throughout, and completely fills the space it occupies. Continuum mechanics studies objects with plotted properties in all points of space. For example, the movement of a cricket ball would be described as a single velocity vector at a single point in space. However, its velocity in every point in space describes the motion of a fluid. The force experienced at every point in space calculates stress.
Before diving deeper into the theory, we begin to build an immediate relation between stress and force. The irony is that if it were not for math and this formula, both of these elements would remain completely intangible. Essentially, stress is defined within this theory as the measure of internal forces as a result of body forces reacting to surface forces. If we had a cube and laid a bowling ball on top of it, the bowling ball would be applying surface force. The initial attempt to balance out this surface force would impact the cube directly hence body force. If we were to hypothetically divide the cube along a plane through the cube, then a new plane of internal forces becomes visible. Here we can see the actions brought forth to maintain equilibrium, better known as stress. 
As a direct result of surface and body forces colliding, the body may warp internally. The amount of, and severity of warping is defined as strain. Hooke’s Law is an imposing example of a linear correlation between stress and strain. It was first published as a Latin anagram in 1678 that read “Ut tensio, sic vis”. Translated, this means “As the extension, so the force”.  This is where we get the direct link between the two; the extension or distortion produced, is directly proportional to the load or applied force. Objects that are of a high elasticity often obey Hooke’s Law, but there are of course instances where it may no longer apply. For instance, Hooke's law is only valid for a portion of the elastic range in some materials such as aluminum. For these materials a proportional limit stress is defined, below which the errors associated with the linear approximation are negligible. This helps us everyday whether we realize it or not.
A proportional limit, or yield strength, is a common factor in modern engineering. More likely then not, steel beams are supporting the very building you are on. The placement of those beams along with the knowledge of where and how to place them in accordance to weight and support is what is keeping you from crushing your downstairs neighbor. A yield, in engineering terms, is the amount of stress that can be applied before the object surpasses elasticity and moves into the realm of plasticity. The difference being that with plasticity, the deformation caused due to stress is not reversible.
It is not farfetched to say the without Cauchy, some of the world’s most beautifully engineered buildings would not exist. The practice of designing buildings around these concepts has become known as structural engineering, which started with the Egyptians and the pyramids, and continues to this day. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Millennium Dome in the UK, the Burji Khalifa in Dubai; all of these beautiful creations would not be possible without an inquisitive mind and structural engineering, a knowledge of stress loads on materials.
Without fully realizing it, Cauchy paved way for modern architecture, and also inspired me to apply his principles to another structure, the human being. Bringing us back in to the human realm, we can now apply these principles to life. There is an outside force, or a surface force, which is something that we have little or no control over, that is affecting our bodies. Our bodies which in some cases may also be considered as the mind, then reacts by putting out equal force to attain equilibrium. The strain and result of the two forces is what we would consider stress. Therefore, the difference between plasticity and elasticity is exactly how much stress we can take before we break. Bringing in the human element only makes the equations that much more complicated.
In physics, other factors aside from force are variables in defining stress. Thus, when speaking about stress in the biological sense, we must also take into account the timing of the occurrence in relation to the subject’s current life events and surroundings. Once all the other variables are in place, we can then define the amount of the force applied with regard to the individual. The elasticity of the subject will be due to the resiliency and toughness of character, as this will determine how quickly the person is able to return to a balanced state. Once we can establish this, we can now compare the two on a case-by-case basis and further study the effects of stress and forms on manipulating it.
In the grand scheme of things, Cauchy could not have seen how important his work would be to our modern world. His meticulous formulas paid off in theories that helped shape our world. Despite his upbringing and the challenges he faced in a politically changing France, he managed to produce vast amounts of publications. There are instances when we must step back, remove our assumptions and accept the flagrant facts.  Our own beliefs can hinder our success if we are not willing to let go of them to seek truth. Some of history’s greatest minds had to over come such obstacles, struggling to balance out new knowledge with old habits. Luckily for us, Cauchy was able to do so. His stress tensor helped the theory of elasticity, which allowed us to improve structural engineering. The applications seem endless. By stripping away my own ideals and beliefs as Cauchy did, through rigorous testing until it is infallible, I intend to apply the theory of elasticity to the human version of stress, in hopes to better our own structural composition. 

"It ain't Hip Hop to me..." What happened to BEP?

3/19/2011 11:14:00 PM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

Maybe I’m a purest, maybe I’m hanging on to something that wasn’t meant to be. I’m sure a few of you remember what the Black Eyed Peas sounded like before the moneybag hit the fan (and the arrival of Fergie). I’ve been jamming to a lot of early 2000 stuff recently while I’m writing my papers and stuff for school. This old BEP song comes on, BEP Empire, and I’m like “damn yo, they talking shit about their future selves”. The second verse was the one that really caught my ear…
“It's the Black Eyed Peas shore climbin up the Empire
State tower livin is the mission desired
I see a lot of liars so to dem I cross and fire
and they lyrics soundin tired, repetitious and expired
Cool dem down troop before they time get picked
I can't take dem serious talkin about bullshit
Got money and cars but, can't bullshit
and your lyrics are soundin like, some doo doo shit
While I'm holdin the mic tight, recite livin insight
so we can all benefit from the artform
Men who took (??) you to make dough
but forgot the main goal, almost lost the soul and got norm
Cause everybody's talkin bout, high profilin
but it ain't hip-hop to me (why why why)
Cause everybody's talkin bout, high profilin
but it ain't hip-hop to me (so check it out y'all)

The lyrics are from an early 2000 song called BEP Empire, this now sounds severely out of place coming from the most corporate band in America. Here is an excerpt from an article in the Wallstreet Journal.

“About 30 minutes into every concert on the Black Eyed Peas' current tour, band leader performs a freestyle rap, riffing on text messages sent by audience members. It's a flashy solo turn for the musician who has steered the group since 1995. It's also a moment in the spotlight for the tour's primary sponsor, BlackBerry, which delivers the messages scrolling up two huge screens on the stage.
On its path from rootsy L.A. hip-hop troupe to pop juggernaut, the Black Eyed Peas have been escorted by a parade of corporate backers. From Coors to Levi's, Honda to Apple, Verizon to Pepsi, brands have padded the group's video budgets, underwritten its tours and billboarded band members in prominent places. When Apple was preparing the 2003 launch of the iTunes store, The Peas' "Hey Mama" became the first song associated with the iconic campaign's dancing silhouettes, a point of pride for, the band's frontman.
For the musician, wooing potential corporate partners has become as integral to his job as the DJ sets he does on tour at after-parties sponsored by Bacardi. Often pitches the concepts himself using "decks" that sum up the Peas' package, frequently in PowerPoint form.
"I consider us a brand. A brand always has stylized decks, from colors to fonts. Here's our demographic. Here's the reach. Here's the potential. Here's how the consumer will benefit from the collaboration."
If wasn't in music, "He'd be the best ad executive on Madison Avenue," says Randy Phillips, president and CEO of the concert promoter AEG Live. "I've never seen anyone more astute at dealing with sponsors' and companies' needs and understanding their brands." He says he's planning to have the rapper deliver a seminar to AEG's global marketing team.
Marketers love the Black Eyed Peas for the rainbow ethnicity of the band's four members. They like its global fan base, and its fetching party anthems like "Boom Boom Pow" and "Imma Be." They like that the band achieves the near-impossible in these post-Michael Jackson times—making both kids and their parents feel cool. All this has turned the Peas into what seems like the only pop ensemble that a fragmented America can agree on. Though the members rhyme, it's not a rap group. Its chugging dance beats, spacey effects, and repetitive hooks have been engineered as party mixes."

            Truth be told, I can’t stand any of the new BEP music no matter how hard I try, even remixes by some of my new favorite artists such as Wolfgang Gartner, bare no fruit. I think there is a difference between teaming up with a corporate sponsor to push a tour and changing your music and show around to attract the most sponsors. That seems to be the very definition of sell-out. Yeah I said it, I’m sure I’m not the first you hear use that word when talking about BEP, and I won’t be the last. I’m not trying to bash, just simply wondering how does this happen, and what your thoughts on it are. I would find it a bit different if a small time band did it from the get go to make money, chances are I wont like the music anyway, but a band signed to a label making records and going on tours, releasing albums and then deciding to pretty much sell ad space during their live set? What happened to the black eyed peas?!

You can read the full WSJ article here:

45% of Students don't learn in first 2 years of college

1/28/2011 11:11:00 AM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

Reblogged from
Thursday, January 20, 2011
45% of students don't learn much in college

In the Huffington Post.
The research of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.

My Response:

There seem to be several factors wrong with this study. For one, we have no information on the control group. Students learn in a variety of ways, and some students won’t grasp concepts as easy if they are not taught in a style they understand.
I have attended both a four-year university and a community college and my experiences differ from others. I was at a four-year school right out of high school and my maturity level was on the floor. 300 plus students in a lecture with professors who could careless if you pass or fail, it was the TV experience in a way. I had a few professors tell me they taught part time at Miami Dade and after failing a few classes I gave it a try. It took awhile for me to get back into school but retaking some courses at the college level I noticed vast differences.
First and foremost, class sizes. 45 students in a class may seem packed to some but this was miniscule to me. And generally the professors seem more motivated to actually teach you something. My problem was just that the material seemed a lot easier. Maybe it was the time away from school, my maturity level rising, standards taking a dive in order to raise graduation rates, I don’t know; but two courses I failed at the university level, I passed with ridiculous ease last semester at Dade. It feels more like 13th grade then it does a college or university.
For this study to be prevalent, it should discuss the type of students that were polled and also compare academic goals past and present to highlight any deviations. Whether or not the student works and how many hours is also a factor. The study may not have to divulge the names of the institutions but at least its status as a 4 or 2-year school. This macro view on the quality of education also alienates the individuals. Perhaps where I found classes easier, someone else found more personal and therefore learned the subject better than they would have at a bigger school.
I wouldn’t take this study too seriously; education truly is what you make of it. 


1/19/2011 01:47:00 AM / Posted by Iron Lung / comments (0)

I want I want I want! That’s all I could say when I opened up my sneak peak email whose subject line only read as “What’s in that Lunch Box!?” I open it up and there it was, in all its tin glory, a Doom lunch box. Fully clad with “Operation: Doomsday” cover art, the real treasure lay inside… a long over due re-issue of the debut of MF Doom album with tons of goodies all enclosed in a collector’s wet dream of a tin edible fuel source carrier. I’ll let Stones Throw take it from here…

The history of MF DOOM's debut album OPERATION: DOOMSDAY is a spotty one - it's been released in at least two different versions on different labels, out of print, bootlegged, and even released once with a cheap scan of the original cover.

This Spring DOOM's own label Metalface Records will be releasing the first complete & remastered version of OPERATION: DOOMSDAY, containing the original album, alternate versions, b-sides and instrumentals - 51 tracks total - with all new artwork and two deluxe, metal formats:

LUNCH BOX 2/CD and METAL 4/LP BOX each containing a 32-page lyric book, and set of 10 cards with images of the Operation Doomsday MCs.

Stones Throw will have an advance sale on these two formats. Complete photos and pre-sale will be announced soon. The artwork, which we previewed last year, was created by Jason Jagel and Jeff Jank, who also designed Doom's 2005 album MM FOOD.