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10 years ago, hearing two tracks “mashed up” together was really cool! Amateur DJs would take two great songs, the vocals from one and the beats from another and then layer them on top of each other in the hopes that they would work together. Then it hit mainstream; radio started playing mashups, artists endorsed it, and we eventually ended up with DJ Hero.

There were also mashups where a ton of songs were combined into a single song. The earliest example I know would be ESPN Jock Jams back in the 90s (and they’re still good!). You’ll also see some amateur ones where the hits of the years are combined into a single song. The problem with these is that those songs don’t make sense, they’re just a lot of songs combined together at the same tempo and pitch.

Miracles by Norwegian Recycling builds on that concept, except the made a real song out of the mashups. Instead of focusing on which tracks to pick, they looked for lyrics (and samples) that they could combine together.

It’s pretty cool as a concept, but I don’t the song is actually that appealing.

What did I do this October. That seems to be a good question for myself every month and these recap posts have become more and more useless. Well Fall is here. The leaves were turning colors and both the mornings and nights are dark (yeah the extended DST is useless – we end up turning our lights on in the morning and when we come home). We didn’t take any trips to see the fall colours, although I did take a walk through the East Don Parklands, but by then all the leaves that were going to change had already fallen down.

The Google Wave hit, the MJ estate released their cash-grab movie and soundtrack, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, the hockey season started and for a long time it looked like the Leafs wouldn’t win a game in October. I went to two concerts, Kylie at the ACC and the TSO for the first time this season. I also had an exciting Xbox weekend where I ended up as part of the mob for 1 vs 100 and attended a Forza3 party/car show.

Work has been uneventful except that I had the opportunity to do a couple of interviews for some students that may be coming next term. I interviewed four guys from Waterloo and one from UBC, although I was just participated and wasn’t leading the interview. I wonder if I’ll show up on InternSHARE‘s interview notes? It was interesting to be on the other side of the phone though. Surprisingly, it is just as stressful (or maybe because I haven’t had enough experience) being the interviewer as being the interviewee.

In a odd move, I actually listened to the radio today. It was like I was prescient or something because I got to hear Michael Jackson’s new, posthumous single This Is It. On first listen, it seemed like another MJ dud – sure his target audience may have grown older and become more mellow but the King of Pop still needs some pop in his singles.

I was going to write this blog to complain, but while I was researching I found out that MJ’s “new” single isn’t even new. It was originally written with Canadian Paul Anka and first recorded in 1991 – and guess what, it wasn’t Michael Jackson. I wonder if Sony really did screw up, because they couldn’t have thought that a single with this wide a release would get past the collective hearing of the internet generation…

On Friday, we met up with Peter for dinner at Jack Astor’s down on Front St and it was like going to a Kylie concert because they had a bunch of Kylie hits on heavy rotation. That was rather premature because in fact we were going to the Kylie concert at the ACC after that! Kylie was touring as part of her For You, For Me tour which is Kylie’s first ever North American tour (and Friday was her first time performing in Canada). Suprisingly, this tour only visits 6 cities (with Toronto being the only Canadian stop) and has only 9 dates! Seems like a waste to choreograph an intricate show for such a short tour, but I’m not complaining.

Believe it or not, this was my first ever “pop” concert. I’ve seen lots of rock bands and such, where they walk around the stage playing instruments; but this was my very first Michael Jackson-esque entertainer spectacle. I was worried that we would see lots of lip synching and dancing, but surprisingly I was wrong on both accounts.

I think Kylie was singing live because her mic was a little unbalanced (too loud), and you can really hear a lack of vocal volume control when she punches through the high notes. Not that that’s a bad thing, live is great. The music was live too, including a brass band that came out for some songs. That’s such an odd thing to say for a pop concert.

But unlike Britney et al, she didn’t dance at all! She kind of just sashayed around the stage with her microexpressions on display on two very clear TVs to the side of the stage. In fact, it was a lot like a Celine Dion concert except there was a lot of disco and dancing GLBT in the audience.

Since I had seen the wiki page, I knew exactly what the setlist would be. That is good and bad, it ruins the surprise (especially interesting samples such as Madonna’s Vogue) but I knew exactly when to record the songs I liked. Even with that knowledge were still a couple of pleasant surprises. Instead of the dated original mix of Loco-motion she performed a cabaret version of it in Christina Aguilera style.

Then for the encore, she played a faux game of hmm what song should I sing for you guys. Well I could have done a Babe Ruth and called it but she surprised us on the last song. There was a request from the crowd for Your Disco Needs You since it contained some lyrics in French (and you know all Canadians are frenchies) and after some discussion with the band she actually sang it before finishing with Love at First Sight! Well it wasn’t entirely a surprise for the people that requested it because they knew she had it prepared after performing it a few nights ago in Chicago.

The only bad thing was that we were sitting quite far away which was a balance between Ticketmaster’s exorbitant fees and actually going to the show. We were able to watch close-ups using the TVs, but I was wondering whether it would be worth it to pay more to be in the first 10 rows and get a great view. Which kind of makes me want to just be able to buy a DVD of the tour.

The Beaches jazz festival is probably my favorite street festival in Toronto. It’s not overly crowded like the Taste of the Danforth and there’s free, live music! We went on Friday after seeing Harry Potter.

We didn’t listen to as many acts as the last time I went, since HP was two and a half hours long (!?) and the festival ended at 11PM. But they were quality. The first act we saw was Scott McCord & the Bonafide Truth. We saw them preparing and they all had cowboy hats on so I was worried they would break into some country twang. Fortunately, they just played some great music to dance too, and there was a crowd of random people dancing in front!

After awhile, we walked on and came across God Made Me Funky. What caught my ear was a tribute to Michael Jackson. The mixed in a bunch of old MJ disco/funk classics like Wanna Be Startin’ Something, Off The Wall, and included Rihanna’s Please Don’t Stop The Music and Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back!

Live covers are awesome, and I just caught the end of Sultans of String performance where they covered The Who’s Pinball Wizard made famous to me by Rock Band. They had a real drummer (as opposed to the video on their website) which had an awesome drum solo at the end. Too bad I can’t play drums like that!

This was also an excellent opportunity for me to test out how my kit with IS would work in low light. I tried to stress it at 55mm (and thus f/5.6) with ISO1600 and the IS was useful, but not infallible.

If there was ambient light, then it’s ok, but otherwise things started getting blurry (i.e., all my pictures of the bands). Plus focusing was a bit off.