malleus&incus

The MashoChist: An Album Review

Posted in Dance, Electronic, Hip Hop, Mashup, Record Review by jurbanik on August 2, 2010

One thing we have a lot of at Princeton is pride. I can’t speak for everyone else, but when a Princetonian does something extraordinary, I feel like the accomplishment is partly mine. As far as music goes, we have plenty to be proud of: our multitudinous A Cappella groups, the soaring vocals of Phyllis Heitjan, the jams of Shape Machine, the smooth jazz of our very own Keshav Singh, the talented compositions of members of the Undergraduate Composers Collective, the ever evolving Funkmaster General, the afro-beat influenced Sensemaya, and any number of other musical acts impress me each time I get a chance to listen.

This past year, though, has brought about the rise of a duo that has the potential to be one of Princeton’s most successful acts. DJ Zesty (Lester Nare ’13) and Gudda Gallin (Max Gallin ’13) have been making mashups for nearly a year under the pseudonym The MashMaticians. They are rumored to be adding a third member soon, but honestly, with the tight production these guys have, I don’t know if they need it. Whether they’re mashing up songs you can’t stand alone (Owl City’s Fireflies and Lil Wayne’s Fireman here) and making it sound good or mashing two songs you’ve never heard before so well you can’t tell it isn’t the original song, it is obvious that they have some serious talent.

The big news with MashMaticians is that they just released their first mashup album, The MashoChist. Originally planned as an EP, it seems like the MashMaticians’ underestimated their productivity. Just yesterday, the pair released the 10 track album, clocking in at just over 41 minutes and freely available from bandcamp. I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t heard quite a few of the tracks Zesty and Gudda drew from before deciding to review the album, but the more I listen to the original tracks, the more I’m impressed by The MashMaticians. Their selection of tracks to mash together is perhaps the best aspect of the album – the tracks just… fit… without all the chops and dubs most mashup artists these days are using to cram two songs together in one package.

While most of the songs cut in rather abruptly and the end of the tracks are simple fade outs (which would probably benefit from being a little more gradual), the album flows well. I can’t figure out why – maybe it’s that the instrumental parts of the track smoothly transition in terms of dance-ability, or maybe it is because the songs cut off so unusually… perhaps the suspense leaves you waiting for the next track. Regardless, it is pretty effective, arguably more so than other mashup albums I have heard.

1. Welcome To The MaschoChist – Fantasy Park (Moulinex Remix) – College Feat. Anoraak // Around My Way – Lloyd ft. Ludacris // Shawty Get Loose – Lil Mama ft. Chris Brown and T-Pain // Numb Encore – Jay-Z

The opening track to the MashoChist is by far the most complex in terms of pure production. It is the only track on the album to mashup more than two songs, but you would never know it. I almost wish there was a version of the song provided without the self-promoting track over it, but kudos to Zesty and Gallin on picking such a suitable voice over. As opposed to the overly crunched or robotic voices usually present, they choose a female voice that is soothing yet disturbing at the same time. I haven’t been able to find the Moulinex remix of Fantasy Park, but it provides a good driving beat. All in all, an excellent way to introduce the record.

2. Emotional Dream – Emotional Day – Stay Ali // Walking On A Dream – Empire of the Sun

Emotional Dream starts The MashMaticians’ habit of splicing the two names of the songs they’re mashing to come up with a new title. That said, I have no idea how they ever got the idea to mash-up these two songs. Empire of the Sun’s song is slow-paced (and has one weird video) – the australian synthpop band is very quirky to say the least, and I doubt they would ever be seen dancing like Emotional Dream makes me want to. Walking On a Dream is by far their most popular track, garnering comparisons to MGMT. On the other hand, Stay Ali are an obscure chiphouse band that sounds a little like Kraftwerk had an affair with an SNES. But once the MashMaticians put the songs together, you can’t even tell that they were ever apart. The mashup focuses mostly on Walking On A Dream’s chorus, which perfectly fits within one phrase of the backing track. This track is perhaps the one that has gotten stuck in my head the most as I’ve listened to the MashoChist.

3. Much About Dre  – Much Better (SymbolOne Remix) – DeadBots // Forgot About Dre – Dr. Dre ft. Eminem

I’m not usually one to hate on Dre, but this track is just a little too long. I feel like Eminem’s line is a little overused here, and in tandem with the DeadBots vocals, things get a little repetitive. Now, keep in mind that I only find this to be a problem for the sake of listening just for pleasure. I guess I could see it being good for dancing, but I haven’t had a chance to find out.

4.Lisztomania 2 – Round 2 – The Cataracs // Lisztomania – Phoenix

I thought I was sick of Lisztomania, but I was wrong. While Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is a great album, Lisztomania is far overplayed. The inclusion of The Cataracs on this track make it fresh enough to deserve at least a few more listens. The syncopated synthbeat and driving backbeat seem to alter the character of the song completely, and the subtle inclusion of vocals from The Cataracs in the middle of the song helps to make the song build such that I find myself bobbing my head, even if it is a little bit against my will.

5. I Hate My Mama – Less Hate More Love – A-ux // I Got It From My Mama – Will.I.Am

The verdict is still up on whether I Hate My Mama is one of those tracks where The MashMaticians make me like a song I hate. While I certainly like this version better than the original, A-ux’s backing is a little too similar to it (despite the different instrumentation) to make it a completely new song. That said, I do like the final minute quite a bit, as it diverges more from the original song.

6. Will A G6 Roll – Head Will Roll (A-Trak Remix) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs // Like a G6 – Far East Movement ft The Cataracs & Dev

This hits HARD. I’m not quite sure why some of the deep bass seems to have been taken out of the A-Trak Remix (it doesn’t seem quite as punchy), but the electro scratches and synth keys make ‘Like A G6’ pop even more than the old dub-influenced beat. I’m not sure that this mash would be quite as fun to dance to, but it certainly is a lot of fun to listen to. The synchronization between the two tracks showcases The MashMatician’s production skills – the electro scratches match up with pauses in the track very well. However, my favorite part of the track might be the bridge that occurs around 2:11… it makes you think the track is closing down and then it comes back to smack you in the face.

7. QuickSwag Quicksand – La Roux // Pretty Boy Swag – Soulja Boy

It is a little hard for me to be objective here, as I only got turned on to La Roux recently. I probably appreciate Quicksand for a song as it is moreso than this mashup. Again, the production is tight, but I don’t feel like the songs fit together all too well. Unlike all of the other songs by the MashMaticians, it feels if they just layered some extra rapping on top of another song – the weighting between the two songs is very unbalanced. Not my favorite, but not horrible by any means either.

8. Dead Rockstar 101 – Rockstar 101 – Rihanna // Dead Wrong – Notorious B.I.G.

I barely recognized that this was sampling a Rihanna track – she sounds a little more like Justin Bieber than herself, especially with pretty much everything but the “Baby I’m a Rockstar” and “I told you baby, uh oh” lines being stripped out. That said, Biggie’s contribution to this mashup is awesome. The jagged distorted guitars compliment his raw sound, and makes me wish he was still around to teach some of the rappers today how it is done. This track is refreshing – it hits hard, flows smooth, and features enough complexity to make it stand out.

9. Sexy Jammin’ – Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back // Black Violin – Jammin’

I love Black Violin, and Jammin’ is one of my favorite tracks by them. The combination of violin and JT works surprisingly well. It does seem a little busy at times, but that is a feature of both tracks individually. It still works well, and the way that The MashMaticians blend the vocals from both songs is pretty cool. The breakdown around 2:16 is a great break to the incessant pounding violin work and pounding beat. There is a chance that I’ll listen to this track as much as the original Jammin’.

10. Roc Juice – Love Juice (Danger Remix) – SymbolOne // Roc Boys – Jay-Z

By far the standout track, Roc Juice is one of the best mashups I have heard in a long time, and I’m not the only one who feels this way – Vacay Wave chose it as one of their top 6 mashups of 2010 so far. I feel like Jay-Z is the ultimate rapper for mashups – as long as a mashup with Jay-Z has decently production, I’m pretty much guaranteed to like it. That said, Danger’s remix of Love Juice is a great track to begin with, and Roc Boys meshes extremely well with it. Each verse seems to develop in tandem with Danger’s remix, and Jay-Z’s smooth flow is perfect for the glitzy retro synth parts. I don’t know what to say about the track other than that The MashMaticians struck mashup gold here.

11. Nothin’ On Love – Nothin’ On You – B.o.B // Runaway Love – Ludacris ft. Mary J. Blige

You’ll just have to download the album and form your own opinion about this one.

Overall, The MashMaticians have crafted a solid first release. I’d argue that Emotional Dream, Will a G6 Roll, and Roc Juice are the standout tracks, but I can see myself coming back to listen to almost every single track. I’m also very fond of the album art for The MashoChist – the grungy and dark image is clever but it fits. It is almost as if some MashoChist blasted the album and danced until they died, getting pleasure the whole time. In the future, I’d like to see this talented duo showing off their skills a little more… perhaps making a foray into remixing or tackling some more complex multi-mashups à la The Hood Internet or DJ Earworm. But for a freshman release, this is downright impressive. I’m excited to see what else these two (and possibly three?) have in store for their next few years at Princeton.

7.5/10

P.S. Zesty and Gudda are also writers for another Princeton music blog, 7 Day Music Civilian. The premise of their blog is almost as clever as MashMatician’s mashups – 7 writers each assigned to a day, each with a different taste and writing style. I’d definitely recommend checking them out, and if you like what you see check out their facebook page or at the very least, ‘like’ MashMaticians.

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4 Responses

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  1. dude's dude said, on August 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    yo this stuff is nasty tight! yo these guys need to bust out at some eating clubs mayne!

  2. […] expect this review to be track by track like my review of The MashoChist – I don’t think Joey, Steve, Kelly (or Danny, now), Michael, or Jeffrey would really […]

  3. […] via This entry was posted in Good Songs and tagged Lisztomania, Lisztomania 2, PHOENIX, Round 2, THE CATARACS, THE MASMATICIANS. Bookmark the permalink. ← New Video for SCREAMING FEMALES’ “I Don’t Mind it” […]

  4. […] via This entry was posted in Good Songs and tagged Lisztomania, Lisztomania 2, PHOENIX, Round 2, THE CATARACS, THE MASMATICIANS. Bookmark the permalink. ← New Video for SCREAMING FEMALES' "I Don't Mind it" WILD NOTHING: "Golden Haze" → […]


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