March 1, 2008

When It Rainz, It Pourz

Rainy Dayz Remixes

How often do you find music that's good, free, and legal? If you often wonder this, then Oakland, California-based DJ, AmpLive (half of hip-hop duo Zion I) has answered this perplexing question.

AmpLive has managed to take Radiohead's landmark, pay-your-own-price album, In Rainbows, and turn it into something that is equally as innovative. While the concept of mixing rap music with rock-and-roll is certainly not a new concept, AmpLive deserves props for transforming a beautifully floating song like “Nude” into an infectious, beat-driven remix. Instead of completely changing song structures, AmpLive leaves the essence of the songs of in tact. “Weird Fishez” builds on the loop-like nature of the original with added hip-hop pizazz. If you are a fan of DJ Dangermouse's 2004 mash-up, The Grey Album, then Rainy Dayz is for you.

Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke’s spliced vocals work extremely well with AmpLive's ridiculously catchy, stabbing beats. Codany Holiday's vocals on "15 Stepz" are well-executed, sexy, and smooth. The change from the original musical texture provides quite a nice variation. Other tracks on Rainy Dayz include guest appearances from Del the Funky Homosapien, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, Too $hort, and MC Zumbi.

The album's release was halted after AmpLive received a 'cease & desist' letter from Radiohead's publishers, and his tracks almost never saw the light of day. Amplive made some of these remixes a while back with the intention of giving them away for free. After much protest, via YouTube clips from AmpLive, on February 13th it was announced that an agreement was made by both parties. AmpLive was given permission to release the album as a zip file free of charge here.

Grade: A

Recommended Tracks: “Nudez” and “Weird Fishez.”

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