Mainstream and cultural appropriation within Music

What makes something mainstream?

“Mainstream is what’s the new trend. when one “style” gets old, a new one is reborn, a mainstream person is someone who jumps from trend to trend so that they fit in with the rest of the crowd. Mainstream is being what society thinks you should be and look like.” (Pormann, 2003)

Trending mainstream

Kanye West selling shirts that have rips in it and making it a worldwide fashion trend

yeezy.PNG

A musical example of this is:

When someone plays a new hit song then when someone else plays that same song a few months later, you’ll hear that it’s old, overplayed and, outdated.

humble.PNGgg.PNGedy.PNG

What is cultural appropriation?

The act of taking or using things from another culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture (Blatchford, 2018).

Cultural Appropriation- “Dark Horse”

Katy Perry released her music video for “Dark Horse” dressed in Egyptian themed clothing and although she’s not Egyptian nor does the song have anything to do with it, it still can be found offensive to some.

Although there are many other times that Katy Perry has had cultural appropriation issues, she formally came out and said that she never knew about what it was until someone had explained to her why wearing her hair the way she did in the music video “This is how we do” or why her outfit for the AMA’s in 2013 was classified as “racist”.

“I’ve made several mistakes. Having a hard conversation with one of my empowered angels, Cleo [Wade, her stylist], about why I can’t wear my hair that way, or what is the history behind wearing the hair that way. And she told me about the power in black women’s hair and how beautiful it is, and the struggle. And I listened, and I heard and I didn’t know.” (Woodward, 2017)

Watch the interview here: http://www.nme.com/news/music/katy-perry-apologises-cultural-appropriation-2087931

Katy Perry’s Backlash

It is obvious that Cultural Appropriation has been showcased throughout these 2 examples and many more within a mainstream pop culture. Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” music video was released in 2014 and has racked in 2.2 billion views to date. As a pop star, that’s pretty successful.

However following the video she was criticised for not taking the time to fully understand and appreciate a particular culture. Katy Perry may genuinely love hip-hop, drag culture, Japanese culture, Egyptian culture, and Hinduism but there is no doubt she has been accused of not taking time to understand the deeper meanings and respect of these cultures (Mechanic, 2017).

People have also criticised the pop singer for simply for taking what she wants from various cultures, sugar coating it with pop rhythms and rhymes, and creating a Billboard hit. Without truly understanding the cultures she is borrowing from, she is exploiting them for profit and nothing else. She is not helping to promote cultural understanding or honouring the cultures she borrows from in any way (Castro, 2017).

Cultural Appropriation- “Bounce”

Iggy Azalea released her song “Bounce” in 2013 and was seen dressed in a range of traditional Indian and Bollywood inspired outfits as well as incorporating Bollywood style dance moves throughout the music video. Iggy Azalea is a rap artist and does not produce Indian style music so when incorporating these outfits and dance moves to a more pop style song it was seen as very offensive to the culture.

Iggy herself claimed that she wanted to be traditional and respectful to the culture when creating the video but it did gain her some negative attention.

Iggy Azalea’s Backlash

Many did take offence to Iggy Azalea’s video as they saw it as ignorant and offensive to the traditional Indian culture. Much like Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” people also saw this as disrespectful and only a way to gain attention and popularity for the Aussie rapper.

Considering this was Iggy’s 2nd single release it was extremely risky for the artist as she did receive a wide range of offended backlash towards the video although she claimed:

“The idea behind (filming in India) is basically seeing all the big-budget old videos, and seeing how the landscape in the last few years has changed and has become so do it yourself, there;s something great about those videos because their fantasy and escapism and that’s what music’s supposed to be, an escape from your life” (Iggy Azalea Hardknock TV Interview, 2013).

Conclusion

Cultural appropriation is an extremely important factor, especially within mainstream media. Whether you are a pop icon creating a music video or writing lyrics to a song there are and should be boundaries that can decrease the risk of something popular being released and receive major backlash for it whilst also offend several different audiences due to cultural appropriation. Many cultures exist and should not be utilised it to gain attention across mainstream media but instead understood by the artists and reconsidering their creative ideas before they go and release something to a wide range of audiences.

Bibliography:

Castro, V. (2017). diversitycouncil. [online] diversitycouncil. Available at: https://www.diversitycouncil.org/single-post/2017/05/30/The-Dark-Horse-of-Cultural-Appreciation [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

Mechanic, J. (2017). Katy Perry’s Cultural Appropriation Meat Grinder. [online] HuffPost. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/examining-katy-perrys-cultural-appropriation-meat_us_592464ebe4b0e8f558bb2a3a [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

Pormann, E. (2003). Urban Dictionary: Mainstream. [online] Urban Dictionary. Available at: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mainstream [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].

Woodward, E. (2017). Katy Perry Addressed Her Cultural Appropriation And Things Escalated. [online] BuzzFeed. Available at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/elliewoodward/katy-perry-addressed-cultural-appropriation-and-people-have?utm_term=.unXkJ8YPV#.trjXWrqlm [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].

 

Advertisements

CIU 212 Artistic Merit Atashi

The artistic merit for my animation is something to with the future of artificial intelligence and that’s what I’m researching because I don’t know that too well

What is Social Exclusion?

Social exclusion is sometimes mentioned is known for individuals being unable to be a part of a social, political or cultural life. This is done by the person themselves or by a group of people who may do it deliberately to make someone feel excluded out of activities.

“Social exclusion is a form of discrimination. It occurs when people are wholly or partially excluded from participating in the economic, social and political life of their community, based on their belonging to a certain social class, category or group.

The three features of social exclusion

Social exclusion as a concept has three distinguishable features:

  1. It involves culturally-defined social categories, with associated cultural perceptions, values and norms that shape social interaction.
  2. It is embedded in social relations.
  3. It affects people’s rights and entitlements, denying them the opportunities they need to attain and maintain a universally acceptable standard of living and to fulfill their potential.” (Pacsindia.org, n.d.)

“Social exclusion is a complex and multi-dimensional process. It involves the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods and services, and the inability to participate in the normal relationships and activities, available to the majority of people in a society, whether in economic, social, cultural or political arenas. It affects both the quality of life of individuals and the equity and cohesion of society as a whole” (Un.org, 2016)

 

 

References:

Pacsindia.org. (n.d.). What is Social Exclusion?. [online] Available at: http://www.pacsindia.org/about_pacs/what-is-social-exclusion [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

Un.org. (2016). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/rwss/2016/chapter1.pdf [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

CIU 212 A break down of my sketch track

For my sketch track, the references I found were really dark and simple sort of horror but not to horror sounds that would make someone feel scared or worried as the music gets happier by the end of it.

I started off by making a simple bass sound with some movement in it so people wearing headphones can listen and it feels like as the game is moving so is the music, to create the sound I simply used Serum a wave table synthesis and used the LFOs to make the first oscillator which is a sine wave move, I then used a sawtooth wave and ran some frequency modulation, so the sound was being routed through oscillator A and I had more control over the sound and I was able to try different warp modes for oscillator B to make something unique and different. I then used a Miscellaneous filter a Combs filter to create a sort of darker and more eerie sound, with some effects within Serum I simply used a multiband compressor and to make the sound have some more harmonics and be able to have control over those harmonics by being able to turn down the low end and the highs a bit before going onto using the stock Ableton EQ which I simply did a bit of ducking around the highs.

For the second layer, I have used a plugin called Sinnah, I’m not familiar with this plugin but I was able to find a tutorial I found useful and from there started creating something different with it, this isn’t a wavetable synthesis but to the best of my knowledge, I have 3 oscillators each running into one master knob which controls the overall volume of the oscillator. From there I have 5 voicings on all three oscillators, I have a slow attack, long decay and sustain and a fast release so there aren’t any sounds feeding back if the sound was going to be looped. For effects, there’s an EQ cutting out everything below 178 Hz, a small amount of phase and a long reverb tail which is being automated to rise then cut off completely once the midi note has finished playing. Altogether the sound is creating yet another dark sound but with more harmonics so it’s not causing any phasing issues with the first sound.

My third layer is another tutorial I found using Sinnah, but instead of it being a low type of sound it’s a high pitch sound that has some modulation happening to it making the sound start from 2 octaves down from what’s being played and is being modulated to go up 4 octaves before the midi note finishes. The same oscillator work is being done on this patch but instead, I have only 2 voicings happening. Effects wise I only have the EQ to cut out everything below 200 Hz and a bit of a dip in the high end. I have a short reverb tale as well to ensure it doesn’t last too long and doesn’t drown the sound and ruin it since it works so well for its purpose.

And finally for my 4th sound for now, I have used Serum again to create a wind sound using a wavetable I created with a lot of different harmonics and peaks in it to make it sound unique, I have done some Frequency modulation from oscillator A to the noise oscillator where I have pink noise running through it. From there I have used a macro and on the macros it’s controlling 19 different knobs to help make the sound what it is, some of the most important sounds that the macro is connected to is the Wavetable position, Frequency modulation to the noise, the drive on the filter within Serum, and the frequency and Q gain on the EQ to make some frequencies be cut and some to be dipped and some to be opened up when the macro is turned, there is a lot more going on but it’s only very small fine details which don’t make all that much difference to the sound. Altogether the macro is being automated to open up the sound and create a wind type sound and this is only being done when there’s a change in scene or movement happening in a scene.

These are the sounds I have so far I hope to be able to create the foley sounds and be able to easily mix them in amongst these sounds without losing the song in the background, Hopefully just some simple sidechain compression on the music from the foley will do the trick and only duck it slightly but if it’s a continuous sound like footsteps I won’t bother but if it’s more random noises, making sure those noises are dominant over the music will draw the players attention.

CIU 212 Foley recording footsteps

Research into foley recording footsteps:

“You will need many kinds of well-worn shoes, a trip to the Salvation Army store will yield many treasures (cowboy boots, pumps, hard and soft-soled shoes) at a reasonable price. You may need to ‘gaff tape’ any squeaky or loose ornamental bits so they don’t clutter the sound of the steps; remember you are trying to record a clean, rich sounding footstep and it doesn’t matter what the shoe looks like. You will also need several surfaces such as wood, concrete, metal, and gravel.

The microphone should be placed about three feet in front of the Foley Artist when the scene is outdoors and placed six to ten feet away when the scene is indoors. This technique allows the mic to breathe and provides a roomy sound for indoor vs. a tight sound for outdoors.” (Marblehead.net, n.d.)

Microphone selection is important when it comes to making foley “fit” with audio recorded from the location. For indoor scenes, a Neumann KM185, Oktava MK-012 or any hyper-cardioid condenser mic will capture good audio.

When matching foley for an outdoor scene, using a shotgun microphone similar to what is used on location shoots is a great way to make the audience feel as though the footsteps were actually recorded there.

 

References:

Marblehead.net. (n.d.). The Art of Foley – Feet. [online] Available at: http://www.marblehead.net/foley/feet.html [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

Final update

As it’s now the end of week 12 when everything is due and making sure everything is uploaded correctly and what not I had to change a few things with my projects to help make them a suitable submission instead of just something crappy and rushed which I hate doing.

Glitch hop EP is now a single track, I hope to be able to fix up this track after submission so it sounds good to me since it was rushed and last minute.

The cover art I had made up for my DnB EP by Rebekah was used as the cover art for my glitch hop track and another one is being made as we talk but won’t be done in time to be a part of a full submission, but I didn’t want to have wasted the designers time making the first one so used it  wisely and appropriately.

I was originally going to have 3 DnB tracks but ended up doing 2.

The visuals for my DnB tracks are being finished and will be in, in time for submission but I hope to be able to send him another version of the track once feedback has been applied and then I’ll upload it to my Facebook, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.

The Jersey Club Bootleg pack all went to plan and I was even able to add another bootleg in time as well as make the cover art myself.

Jackie Chan, I got in contact with the animator and he never got back to me.

 

Revise production process through continuous reflection of aesthetic outcomes

On my DnB tracks, I have been using my reference tracks as a guide for what kind of bass I could try using in the track, for example, when I was finding a reference track I decided on a couple of things, I wanted the songs to have a very low and dark tone bass in them just to give me the chance to experiment and try something new. As well as this I was listening to the types of drums the other producer has used or made, and listening for stuff like is it a mid-range type kick or is it a very low-end type kick layered on top of something a bit more dynamics to make it have a little bit more life. The same goes with my snare when trying to find a good snare I was listening to the snare in my reference track on loop and listening for what sort of dynamics it has, this technique helped me with all my instruments, but when it came to the basses I was simply able to hear that it was a very low lying bass and didn’t have many dynamics in it, but after giving it a crack a few times at creating it and trying different wavetables in Serum I was able to get an idea down and it was kind of like the base of the main basses you hear throughout the track, I simply done all the LFO work in one Serum then duplicated it then in that Serum I changed the wavetable and the effects slightly to still have the same texture and sound movement but different sound.

For my sub bass I simply duplicate the main bass and turned off the other oscillators and used the sub within Serum and put on any important LFO that may affect the volume of anything, as well as this you can do any post-processing separately, and not have to worry about your sub bass being too low in the mix. I noticed this technique one time in another track where the sub-bass would follow the main bass and would sound a lot cleaner and I thought I’d try it this way and ever since it has worked in all my tracks, including when I did my commercial I still used this trick to help ensure all my basses had a nice clean sub bass underneath them that I had a lot more control over.

By using these techniques I feel like it work best in my genres since there are a lot of moving sounds and the sub-bass also needs to be moving as well with these sounds so everything fits nicely in the mix and nothing sounds out of time and ruin the whole track, a good example of a bass and a sub-bass moving with each other is a lot of riddim tracks, the bass will have a short attack and a short release and the producer will simply duplicate the bass and do what I mentioned before and only use the sub-bass oscillator within that plug-in to create movement and keep the track flowing.

 

 

Distance travelled

Sound design: DnB sounds

I was in need if something to help fill out some blank spots in one of my DnB tracks, and I was watching tutorials on other sounds that I could possibly try, I found this one and then while making it I suddenly managed to come up with the perfect bass that would work well with the sound, but I followed the tutorial and then from there managed to change the wavetables and mess around with different effects as well as using different shaped LFOs to get different textures out of the sound and what was being modulated.

Mixing techniques:

I learned this good tip to help make my kick and snare pop out a lot more on my track, it pretty much works as a sidechain compressor but it’s pre-active meaning it’ll duck everything before the kick or snare hits, I used this technique on my DnB songs and I have noticed a very big difference in the track because of this little trick. I’ve written a more detailed blog here have a read of it and it’ll explain it more as well as give you an example of the track.

Gimp:

Gimp is a free program similar to Photoshop that I downloaded and wanted to teach myself the basics of graphic design and to be able to create my own cover art for my JerseyClub bootleg & edit pack. I simply used my knowledge from photoshop which I used to use a lot in school to photoshop peoples faces onto other peoples bodies or animals but that’s not important, I started out by loading my logo that I had made up back in tri 1 and simply found a nice appealing colour and added the text I wanted, I did have to go through about 20 different fonts to find one that suited my logo and the theme I was after spent a bit of time researching into how to get the text the same size since I didn’t want all my added text to be just in one corner, I then simply had a bit of a play around with some different colour settings till I found the right one and yeah it’s ready to go.

I will, however, look for some info on what the right size is for Soundcloud artwork just so the image isn’t too big or too small.

Jersey Club artwork.png