Monday, November 21, 2011

Tom Caruana Presents The Wu vs. The Beatles - McCza, Ghostface Harrison, J.Lennon The Chef & Ol' Dirty Ringo (a misshapedmixtape)

Okay, I guess I decided I should make a quick mixtape for this week after all. It IS Thanksgiving week... so I thought people might want some good traveling music. I was debating between Wu-Tang and The Beatles. And then I was like, wait, Tom Caruana did that dope-ass mashup mixtape of BOTH OF THEM two years ago that a lot of people slept on. Perfect.

And actually, Caruana's crafted something that IS really close to perfect... especially considering that mashups (particularly mashup albums) are usually novelty items whose appeal wears thin after... oh, about the second listen. THIS is a definite exception... and deserves a place next to Danger Mouse's "The Grey Album" which also picked from the Beatles back-catalog and combined Liverpoolian-loops with Jay-Z's not-classic (by Jay-Z standards) "Black Album." But yeah, "The Grey Album" rocks... and I'm a BIG Danger Mouse fan (as you can see from last week's Broken Bells post).

However, I would go so far to say that Caruana's product is even BETTER than what Danger Mouse put out -- this could partially be because I have always been a hard-core Wu-Tang fan, but it's also because I think that Tom Caruana's sampling is less heavy-handed and he has created fresh SOUNDSCAPES for the Wu's cadre of MCs to demonstrate their special techniques of shadowboxing. In other words, he's making NEW beats, not just flipping a sample with an "I know that!" signpost attached to it. In fact, many of the tracks on Caruana's mixtape (which was called "Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles: Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers") pull from other artists' covers of Beatles songs and other (relatively) obscure material. So yeah, it's actually quite a challenge to "name that sample" as the album progresses. Please post your findings in the comments section! It'll be fun!

I will cheat a bit... in Arts Beat (a section of the New York Times online material), Caruana did reveal the source material contained in the especially epic sounding "Uzi (Pinky Ring)" (which has verses from 8 of the original 9 founding members of the Wu... ODB was incarcerated when "Iron Flag" -- the album this song was on -- came out):

“Uzi (Pinky Ring)” has got a lot of samples on it. There’s “Glass  Onion” (U-God), then it went to an Arif Mardin version of “Glass Onion” (Raekwon), then when Ghostface comes in it goes to “Getting Better,” then RZA comes in and it’s a Ramsey Lewis version of “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey.” Then Method Man comes in and that’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Then Inspectah Deck comes in and it’s a cover version of “Hey, Jude.” [Note: he doesn't name -- and I don't know -- the sample on Masta Killa's part]. And then GZA’s at the end, and that’s “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road.” - Arts Beat (January 26, 2010)

Anyway, if you love Wu-Tang this is a MUST listen. And if you love The Beatles (and who doesn't), see if you can pick it all apart and fall in love with the WTC at the same time.

I know that the rather recent Wugazi mashup (Wu-Tang vs. Fugazi) which was done by Doomtree affiliates is getting hyped now (and it is worth the free download), but Caruana's pretty much kicks the shit out of that (though the first track on Wugazi: "Sleep Rules Everything Around Me" IS killer). And Doomtree is great (especially Dessa and P.O.S.'s solo material... which is ridiculously dope and I will NOT do misshapedmixtapes for because their albums are solid the whole way through and are must-buys). Just saying.

Anyway, back to Tom Caruana. Evidently he's a music teacher in the UK and took two months off to put together this Wu-Tang vs. Beatles compilation. He has also put out a lot of other stuff on the Tea Sea Records website, I am especially intrigued by his new "Okayplayer: The Bollywood Remake" album... but unfortunately I haven't had time to give it a listen yet.

As far as "Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles: Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers" goes, there were only six tracks on the original 27-track album that I didn't really care for (not that they were terrible, just not up to the VERY high quality of the rest of the tracks)... so I omitted those and did some other minor re-sequencing and tweaking. So yeah, this is the version to the "Magical Mystery Chambers" album that I listen to. And it's been FAR MORE than twice. It's blisteringly rad. I also added "The Heart Gently Weeps" as a bonus track. It was on the Wu's "8 Diagrams" album and is Beatlematicmadness as well (with John Frusciante and Erykah Badu on the track too... what! -- RZA you are a crazy genius).

Here are the tracks on "Tom Caruana Presents Wu vs. Beatles - McCza, Ghostface Harrison, J.Lennon The Chef & Ol' Dirty Ringo (a misshapedmixtape)" [dl link in the "comments"]... I wrote in the featured artists on each track in the order that they appear for those of you who might not be obsessed with all that the Shaolin crew has done. That'll assist you in following that end of the equation at least. Help me with naming those samples tho :) Happy Triptophan Day to all! Enjoy:

01 : Wu vs. Beatles (Intro)
02 : C.R.E.A.M. (ft Raekwon, Inspectah Deck & Method Man)
03 : Got Your Money (ft Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
04 : Uh Huh (ft Method Man)
05 : Criminology (ft Ghostface & Raekwon)
06 : Daytona 500 (ft Raekwon, Ghostface & Cappadonna)
07 : Labels (ft GZA)
08 : Smith Bros (ft Raekwon)
09 : R.E.C. Room (ft Inspectah Deck)
10 : Wu vs. Beatles (Skit) (ft Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
11 : Mighty Healthy (ft Ghostface)
12 : Clientele Kidd (ft Raekwon, Fat Joe & Ghostface)
13 : Cutting It Up (ft Raekwon, Polite, Chip Banks, Ghostface & Trife)
14 : Release Yo Self (ft Method Man)
15 : City High (ft Inspectah Deck)
16 : Run (ft Ghostface & Comp)
17 : Uzi (Pinky Ring) (ft U-God, Raekwon, Ghostface, RZA, Method Man,
        Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa & GZA)
18 : Back In The Game (ft Inspectah Deck, Method Man, GZA, Raekwon,
        Ghostface & Ron Isley)
19 : Save Me Dear (ft Ghostface)
20 : Wu Tang Cream Team Line Up (ft The Harlem Hoodz, Raekwon,
         Inspectah Deck, Method Man & Killa Sin)
21 : Wu vs. Beatles (Outro)
22 : The Heart Gently Weeps [BONUS] (ft Raekwon, Ghostface, 
        Method Man, Erykah Badu, Dhani Harrison & John Frusciante)

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