Reinventing a Classic, Marmoset’s Original Music Team Goes Metal

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What do Rick Astley, Britney Spears, The B-52’s and Johnny Cash have in common? They’ve all been masterfully parodied and recreated by Marmoset’s in-house composers, Greg Jong and Graham Barton.

Throughout the winter season many of us find a warm familiarity in classics like Dean Martin’s “Let It Snow” or the baritone of Bing Crosby’s vocals. It’s all very soothing, traditional and well, nice.

Getting into the holiday spirit, Marmoset’s Original Music Team took on the challenge of reinventing a classic for kicks; a song to evoke an energetic physical reaction that can best be defined as raging out — to compliment and balance the softer side of the holidays, of course. A musical creation that would be something for everyone, from caroler devotees to metal enthusiasts.

Using a very basic template structure, the Original Music Team brought to life six song variations, all wildly different yet recognizable in their individual style. After a few intense studio hours, the team created genre-spanning versions of the old favorite “Deck the Halls”— it included channeling folk rock legend Johnny Cash and pop sensation Britney Spears. The ultimate final version entailed a mashup with a traditional choir structure intercutting with themes of metal.

Spearheaded by Marmoset’s in-house Original Music Team, the song illustrates how something can be deconstructed and then musically reinvented to be drastically different — all while following the exact same chordal structure and tempo.

Leading up to the new year we’ll be releasing each entertaining variation on Instagram (stay tuned). In the meantime, please enjoy our Original Music Team’s metal version — we recommend peeking at the before template to get the gist of just what they were working with before composing the metal version. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Before

After


Posted on December 19, 2018 and filed under Marmoset, Spotlight: Marmoset, Music.

The Top 2018 Albums Marmoset Has on Repeat

As we bid 2018 farewell and leap enthusiastically (or hesitantly) into a new year, we look back once more and shuffle through the haphazardly overflowing playlists we’ve created over the span of these 12 months. We’ve discovered our brazen confidence listening to Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy, immersed ourselves into the dreamy lyrics of Beach House’s 7 while continuing to reevaluate the state of current politics with Courtney Marie Andrews’ May Your Kindness Remain.

Scroll down and let the nostalgia wash over you.

Here are our top albums of 2018.


Con Todo El Mundo by Khruangbin

1. Con Todo El Mundo by Khruangbin

Released: January 26, 2018

“Khruangbin was one of the last bands I saw before leaving Chicago this year to move to Portland. The genesis of the band feels like something out of a novel — three musicians who eat at the same Southeast Asian restaurants in Texas start getting influenced by the unique, regional style of funk they hear while slurping down noodles, so they form a band.

An amalgamation of psychedelic rock, hip-hop, and Thai funk, Con Todo El Mundo spoke volumes to me as a work that could have only been created in today's digital age where influential, eclectic sounds and recordings are only a click away.

As I sat with the record, I heard b-boy jams (aka breakdance circles), prom dance floors of yesteryear, and hazy, sweat-filled lounges in my father's homeland of the Philippines. The album has grooves that'll make you boogie in broad daylight and ballads that'll beg you to open that moonroof while on a summertime midnight cruise.”

— Alex Paguirigan, Music Licensing Creative


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2. Whack World by Tierra Whack

Released: May 30, 2018

“Tierra Whack is reconceptualizing what an album is and can be. Whack World is a delightful, playful, sensual and hooky romp of 15 one-minute songs that have done what all good art should do, left me wanting more.."

— Laura Hardin, Label Manager


3. Sweetener by Ariana Grande

Released: August 17, 2018

Sweetener is such an honest record. It's full of happiness, joy and finding light. I can't help but smile when I listen to Sweetener. I love it so much.”

— Casey Wheeler, Project Manager/Creative Services

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4. Skulls Example by Dear Nora

Released: May 25, 2018

"It's Katy's expressive and simplistic descriptions of nature that first caught my attention. "White Fur is in the care of no one," I'm walking on that snowy, sunny path in the woods of my childhood home when I listen.

The song, "Sunset on Humanity" describes the juxtaposition between two realities we have created for ourselves. Technological advancements and the natural world that still surrounds us.

Skulls Example is a contemporary example of our complex experiences in life...described in the most appropriately minimal of ways.."

— Jamie McMullen, Music Licensing Coordinator


5. The House by Porches

Released: January 19, 2018 

The House is filled with melancholic lyrics and interludes that make my heart ache, but it keeps me dancing from start to finish. The perfect balance of darkwave and synthpop.”

— Marilynn Wexler, Music Licensing Coordinator

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6. Rare Birds by Jonathan Wilson

Released: January 19, 2018 

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7 . Isolation by Kali Uchis

Released: April 6, 2018

Isolation features collaboration from a variety of artists from Jorja Smith to Steve Lacy, and it shows in the best of ways. Uchis' debut album mixes genres like funk, soul, and bossa nova (to name a few) into an intoxicating body of work that sounds both vintage and modern.”

— Fiona Kang, Community Ambassador

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8 . BbyShoe by BbyMutha

Released: February 22, 2018

“BbyMutha was one of my favorite performances of this year, I saw her in Oakland at Women in Music Fest with a bunch of other talented women/femme performers.

— Jené Etheridge, Music Licensing Coordinator


9. Foxwarren and El Mal Querer

Released: November 30, 2018 + November 2, 2018

“There were so many phenomenal albums this year it's been hard to keep track. My list is going to be jockeying for positions through the end of the year. New on the list this week is the November release, Foxwarren (Andy Schauf's) band of 10 years, which glimmers with chordal structures reminiscent of Elliott Smith. It's emotionally charged and atmospheric. Rosaliá’s El Mal Querer sits at top with equally powerful and engaging Spanish pop constructed from her Flamenco roots. In the face of another adverse and challenging year in the political artists answer the call and continue to deliver their message. Looking forward to what 2019 has in store."

— Eric Nordby, Brand Ambassador + Music Producer


10. Hot Snakes by Jericho Sirens

Released: March 16, 2018

“After 14 years, Hot Snakes are back in town with "Jericho Sirens" - chock-full of Swami John's blistering guitar riffs, brutal beats by J Sinclair and Mario, Gar Wood's guttural bass grooves, and Rick's gnarly vocals. This album is sure to turn the party into a sweaty mess and not clean up after. Notable tunes include Six Wave Hold-Down, Death Camp Fantasy, I Need A Doctor, and Death Doula. I highly recommend giving album one a spin. Guaranteed to shred your ear balls.”

— Rob Dennler, Senior Creative Director

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11. Wide Awake by Parquet Courts

Released: May 18, 2018 

“Parquet Courts Wide Awake really took me by surprise this year. It takes the catchiness of Jock Jams and stadium rock and puts it through filters of punk rock, a sly sense of humor and raw artful simplicity. Also, you can dance to it (some of the songs are straight up funky).”

— Steve Schroeder, Artists & Repertoire Curation Manager




12. 7 by Beach House

Released: May 11, 2018

“There’s a stark departure in Beach House’s 7, the duo’s new approach being dialed up, shaking up the world of mellow daydreams evoked from their previous work. The masterful layering combined with haunting vocals feel spatially satisfying — ever mellow moment feels welcoming and entrancing from start to finish.”

— Michelle Goldstein, Copywriter

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13. It’s A New Day Tonight by Michael Rault

Released: May 18, 2018 

“Michael Rault's album It's a New Day Tonight delivers such a unique and timeless take on ‘70s psych pop — it's so refreshing. The melodies are infectious, the lyrical content is heartfelt and self reflective without feeling like a damn Nicholas Sparks novel and the production is next level insane, much due to Wayne Gordon of Daptone I'm sure. Spin if you like Wings, Badfinger, Big Star, and the like.”

— David Katz, Music Producer





14. God’s Favorite Customer by Father John Misty

Released: ‎June 1, 2018

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15. Love//Warrior by Frankie Simone

Release: September 6, 2018

“Love//Warrior is a pumped album packed full of empowerment and light. Frankie Simone kicks ass and Barton's production makes you wanna shake yours.”

— Jenna Covey, Community Ambassador


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16. boygenius by boygenius

Released: October 26 2018

“Boygenius was short, sweet and sad, which is perfect since I'm a sucker for sad girl music. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus are all phenomenal artists by their own right, but putting the three of them together had some pretty magical results. Such a power trio.”

— Marissa Hernandez, Music Licensing Creative


17. Nearer My God by Foxing

Released: August 10, 2018

“Foxing's Nearer My God had all of my favorite things; distinct instrumentation not typically seen in the genre, sick guitar solos, and more angst than you can shake a stick at. Nothing says 2018 like post-hardcore-sad-boy music because everything sucks and you're just trying to make it to 2019.”

— Nathaniel Schmidt, Project Manager/Creative Services

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18. Childqueen by Kadhja Bonet

Released: June 8, 2018

“I love the throwback, psych-soul sound of Kadhja Bonet's Childqueen. It feels comfortable like I'm in a familiar space, yet at the same time it's completely new. I could drown happily in Kadhja's honey voice — I love it so much.”

— Nicole Hooper, HR Generalist + People Operations Team Lead


19. Hope Downs by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Released: June 15, 2018

“Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is a new-ish Australian outfit that makes raw, jangly guitar-driven rock music, reminiscent of R.E.M. the The Clean. Super solid band with somehow a fresh sound even though you can hear their influences.”

— Ryan Rebo , Software Engineer

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20. Honorable Singles Mention

We the Funk” by Dillion Francis feat. Fuego

“Turn up the heat — and turn down the tempo and mood because hey, it’s 2018. Dillon Francis continues to breathe life into Moombahton on this dark and bumping collabo with Fuego: the hi-hats are hooky enough by themselves but the bari sax instead of a chorus seals the deal for me.”

— Michael Van Pelt, Artists & Repertoire Senior Catalog Manager 


Posted on December 18, 2018 and filed under Artist Spotlights, Mixtapes, Music, Marmoset, Spotlight: Artists.

Original Music and Filmmaking Come Together for A/VEC 5

Filmmaking and original musical composition are two creative worlds that intermix every day at Marmoset.

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With every notable film throughout history in the accompaniment of an outstanding soundtrack (or even sound design), we recognize this creative friendship, coming together as a community to celebrate Marmoset’s fifth installment of A/VEC. This year we brought together two talented artists, filmmaker Claudia Meza and Luz Mendoza of Y La Bamba.

Meza’s background in documentary filmmaking, her roots rest firmly in music. It was in this medium where Meza found another calling and natural obsession for video production. After working alongside She Shreds magazine, Meza began shooting content on the fly, naturally falling in tune with documentary style filmmaking.

Gathered at Marmoset headquarters, the short film shines a light on the unseen, backbreaking physical labor performed by migrant workers every day in the United States. It's a poetic testimonial transcending the general outlook of immigration, presenting an experimental yet informative documentary that never compromises identities.

“Trabajo pesado, what that means is hard work, it means heavy work,” says Meza. “And whenever your parents tell you to study, or tell you what they're doing for you so you don’t have to do — Trabajo pesado.”

The audio heartbeat of the film is within Y La Bamba's original music created just for this special event and scored live on the night of the A/VEC community screening; the purple light that cascades over Mendoza and her band is emotively symbolic of America’s aching, turbulent grasp of its immigrant issue. It’s an evening that pays homage to lineage, history, roots, culture and art — click PLAY on the video above to experience it yourself.

Migrant workers depicted in Director Claudia Meza’s A/VEC short film — premiered at Marmoset Headquarters.

Migrant workers depicted in Director Claudia Meza’s A/VEC short film — premiered at Marmoset Headquarters.


Posted on December 12, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Music, Shared Work, Spotlight: Marmoset, Filmmaking.

Crossing that Finish Line, the Kairos Way

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The first week of December can feel like settling at the mark of the starting line, waiting to sprint into action toward endless holiday to-do tasks and of course, spirited festivities (ya know, the good stuff). It truly can be a consuming season, engulfed in consumerism and materialism.

But of course, there’s always a redeeming silver lining to it all. In this case, it’s the ongoing Give!Guide donation movement that focuses on giving back — any and every donation of every size is welcome and warmly accepted. It’s a movement geared toward the upcoming generation, givers under 35, providing perks here and there through the event’s Big Give Days. What exactly are Big Give Days?

When donating just $10 (the minimum) on the organization’s specified days (big days), the donator is entered to win a notable prize — and since Give!Guide is wrapping at the end of the month, the Big Give Days are running out. That means, time’s running out to get in there and make things happen.

If not already familiar with Kairos, the education non-profit changing making waves in the Portland community, we’ve partnered with them to match every donation up to $10,000. And standing at $8,780, they’re so close to reaching that middle tier goal — we want to help them get there and then beyond.

And since today happens to be one of their Big Give Days, we think you’d like to know giving means receiving too. So hit pause and if you happen to have $10 to spare, we know of a place that does big things even with the smallest of donations.


Posted on December 6, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Music.

New Music Mixtape: Holiday Edition

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As we plunge our existence into the sparkling decadence of the holiday season there is a clear shift in our musical surroundings too (step one foot into a shopping mall and you’re immersed into a winter wonderland for your ears).

And while we appreciate and dig the timelessness of many classic holiday hits, we’ve got some noteworthy modern editions lined up to help keep your season upbeat and moving along.


Posted on December 4, 2018 and filed under Mixtapes, Music, Marmoset.

Music That Makes or Breaks Your Video

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There are specific qualities to a song that music producers are expertly skilled to recognize, to distinguish and interpret into layman’s terms — it’s why they’re an essential designated point person when coordinating deliverables between a client and composer.

It’s these very qualities that can easily make or break how successful a song fits into a creative project, whether it be a commercial, film or even a podcast. Seeing it as this is what Marmoset’s Creative Services Team does (whether it be for music licensing projects or original music scores), we’re going to walk you through some helpful tips to keep in mind when using keywords to find the soundtrack you’re envisioning.

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Do emotions run high?

Have you ever worked on a video project and considered it “bright” in regards to the cinematography or even the content itself? Are you considering the emotive qualities of the visuals when concluding how the song accompanying the video should sound?

Maybe the video is designed to feel empowering, upbeat or imaginative even. But how would such a term be used to search and filter out the results you’re actually wanting?

When considering the mood of a song cataloged on Marmoset’s browse page, site users can search by a keyword (i.e. “bright”) but without having some instrumental qualities in mind, the results may not be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s also why Marmoset’s music roster is so meticulously tagged and labeled — when our A&R Team is adding/categorizing new songs to our music collection, they consider the presence of instruments, tempo and pace and how all these elements add up to impact a song’s overarching mood.

Let’s look at “Brighter Than Expected” by Marmoset artist, Paper Rabbit as an example. The song’s composition is orchestrally enriched with piano and strings — notably there is treble presence. As an exercise, check out the song and think about what adjectives come to mind. Would you have entered “bright” as a descriptor when searching? If not, would “optimistic” or “whimsical” have been better search terms?

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A bit like searching through a crossword puzzle, it’s all about finding the right words to transcribe an accurate description — it may not seem imperative but every word adds up to identify how a song should ultimately “feel.” And factoring in musical elements like frequency, treble, pace and tempo are key not exclusively for exploring an online catalog of music; for an artist, it can also prove useful when arranging a song. Think about if a client described their dream song as “gutty”, you might consider what instruments would deliver a “rule-breaking” kind of attitude, even being mindful of the song’s frequency (i.e. mid-range).

Digging into sonics and interchangeably using non-musical terms to describe a song also comes in handy when requesting Marmoset do a search on your behalf. When our creatives scour our roster to deliver a curated list of music, we’ll first ask some detailed questions to learn what you’re envisioning for the project’s soundtrack — being descriptive of how you envision the details we covered can produce quicker and more precise results.


Considering these musical terms we hope you’ll feel empowered the next time you search or describe a song to your composer, a music producer or even when creating your own music.

Posted on November 30, 2018 and filed under Education, Marmoset, Music.