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January 23, 1992
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" Pop will
T he science of sampling has
produced great results with some
very funky rap records. Rap's best
qualities of abstraction, exertion
and euphoria only enhance the us-
age and implementation of classic
The rap group Cypress Hill
creates its best work by emphasiz-
ing the rhythm guitars and
melodic parts of their samples in
a way that is percussive and vi-
brant. Del Tha Funkee Ho-
mosapien uses the density of
exquisite grooves to build up
both his tracks and his namesake
with impressive results.
Yet for all the power of the
new school of funk-bolstered rap,
I've never been able to write sam-
pling off as a fault-free artistic
To the current crop of rap
artists, the means frequently
seems to be much more important
than the end. In other words, a
killer sample will make your
record sell, eveti if you haven't
built a decent tune around it.
Exhibit A: George Clinton.
Easily one of the most relevant
recording artists in history, sev-
eral tribute albums were released
for him in '91, though only one
cited him in name (The Digital
Underground's Sons Of The P).
From the P-Funk band to
George's solo albums and off-
shoots, rap has revitalized itself
with great results for years.
The industry's joke about mak-
ing money off pre-recorded music
s Send James Brown the check."
Better still, send it to George. He
could probably use it, since defi-
ciencies in his career have made
him resort to doing Gerardo's
"We Want The Funk" video and a
Burger King commercial of late.
I choose Exhibit B, George's
"Mix-Master Suite," as the basis
for my ambivalence toward rap
smples. A three-part selection
from his '86 R & B Skeletons In
The Closet album, "Mix-Master
Suite" is a lasting statement - a
prophetic one, in fact.
The song sounded much like a
hip-hop mockery at the time of its
release. A sparse arrangement of
mediocre beats and scratches com-
prises the groove, with occasional
flourishes by an orchestra thrown
in for good measure. In very mun-
dane terms, George described the
rap scene to us:
"There is a DJ in the air/ We
all know his location/ He plays a
tune! And says stay tuned! Right
here on this station/ He spins, he
scratch/ he mixes the sound we all
love to hear/ Spyro-gyro type of
sounds that's strange to the ear."
The first two parts, "Startin'
From Scratch" and "Counter-Ir-
ritant," progress in this fashion,
leaving us to wonder just what
George's point is.
The singers then break into a
rendition of an old rap classic,
"The Roof Is On Fire," in the
third part, "Nothin' Left To
Burn." But this chant is different
from the familiar one, as it goes:
"The roof, the roof, the roof
ain't on fire! / You won't need no
water/ There'll be nothin' left to
Huh? Nothin' left to burn?
Funkadelic's classic "One Na-
tion Under A Groove" blurts in, a
quick sample of the song's chorus,
once and then it's gone. The
juxtaposition is so awkward and
impromptu that it's disturbing.
And now I see where George
was coming from six years a'o.
Here's where it all started. The Ark is an A2 treasure, a haven for folk musicians.
The 5nr bor Fol Festival
in~vtes yut aesm
Lyle Lovett sports an attitude to match his 'do. He'll belt out his tunes at
the Ann Arbor Folk Festival this weekend.
by Andrew J. Cahn
Thk "There is nothing
a else like the Ann
Arbor Folk Festival,"
says Ark director Dave Siglin.
It is not one of those all-day
events staged in a public park on a
muggy July day, with acts inside a
gazebo, and performances ob-
structed by planes or frisbees flying
overhead. There are also no arts and
crafts workshops or displays.
The time of year and setting of
the event both contribute to the
AAFF's unique mood. The acoustics
of Hill Auditorium place the
emphasis on the music itself, and
with the town buried under a
blanket of snow, the show is a
refuge from the winter doldrums.
Siglin also says the event is not a
concert, for there are far too many
acts performing. He likes to call it a
"showcase." There are big name
headliners each year, but the greater
part of the night is devoted to pre-
senting lesser known artists, who
may have played at the Ark a few
times, or are making their first
appearances in town.
Headlining this year's fifteenth
anniversary show is Lyle Lovett,
who is often called the Steven
Wright of country music because of
the dry comedy which spices up
much of his work. Also featured are
John Gorka - who was invited back
after he stopped in to perform a tune
last year - Odetta, Livingston
"Bro of James" Taylor, and the
Bitchin' Babes featuring Ark legend
Christine Lavin. In spite of the all-
star bill, there may be a relative
unknown who may be the real
"I don't give artists their big
breaks, but rather a chance for them
to make themselves," says Siglin.
One success includes Nanci
Griffith, who performed at the,
festival in 1985. "I really enjoyed
her music and I tracked her down in
Austin, Texas to come up and do the
show," Siglin says. Since then, she
has not only packed the Ark a few
times, but she has also played to a
full house at the Michigan Theater
"Dave (Siglin) always gets peo-
ple that you have probably never
heard before," says Don Gonyea,
who covers Detroit news for Na-
tional Public Radio, "but you'll
walk away each year with a few new
Gonyea remembers the first time
he saw the now-defunct New Grass
Revival at the tenth show in 1987.
After that, he made it a point to see
them whenever they were within
driving distance. Also at that show
were the first performances by al-
ternative-rocker Peter Case, Ark fa-
vorite Uncle Banzai, and folk pio-
neer Libba Cotton, who was then 99
Because of the number of acts
who perform each year, groups just
don't have the time to perform en-
cores. But Gonyea remembers one
exception. In its last year at the
Michigan Theater in 1984, the show
was headlined by David Bromberg
and also featured Steve Goodman
and Richard Thompson.
"A lot of people knew that
Steve Goodman had been sick for a
while, and came to the event just to
see him," Gonyea says. "After he
finished his set, there was a tremen-
dous ovation for him, which kind of.
embarrassed him, but he came back
solo-acoustic set, David Bromberg
and his band took the stage to close
the show. "It seemed like he was go-
ing to play forever," Gonyea says,
"and as everybody was leaving, the
band kept playing.
Some more recent highlights in-
clude Loudon Wainright III's per-
formance in 1990, which included
his anti-Jesse Helms song "If Jesse
Don't Like It."
A few years earlier, in '88,
Christine Lavin had a sore throat
but wasn't going to let her spot go
to waste. She did a baton twirling
act instead. This year, she will be
appearing as a member of the
Bitchin' Babes, a group that also in-
cludes Sally Fingerett, Megan Mc-
Donough and Julie Gold, who wrote
"From a Distance."
And with Alex Chilton and
John Mellencamp in town, who
know what else could happen.
The 15th ANN ARBOR FOLK FES-
TIVAL, a benefit for the Ark, will
take place Saturday night at 6 p.m.
at Hill Auditorium. Call the Union
Ticket Office at 763-TKTS for
ticket availability. Tickets range in
price from $19.50 to $100.
out to do one more song."
Goodman died of leukemia
shortly after that performance, and
it was the last time many of his fans
ever saw him on stage. Gonyea says
he will never forget the emotion
that was felt throughout the audi-
As if that wasn't enough, after
Thompson performed a stirring
Law school landscape of the '90s
by Joshua Meckler
Today's future lawyers share
hopes, aspirations and worries
So you want to go to law school?
Well, you're not alone.
Exactly 6,666 people applied to
the University's law school last year.
An ominous number indeed. Only
370 got in.
Those 370 people are probably in
solitary corners of a library rightnow,
reading andre-reading cases and court
decisions. One day, they hope, they
will escape the library and become
Some think they'll be rich and
famous, drive expensive cars, andhave
condos on the beach.
Others think they'll be out in the
world helping the common person.
The rest aren't exactly sure what
they'll be doing.
Whatever their backgrounds, law
students have chosen a difficult field
of study. But,they've also chosen a
field full of chances to stretch their
minds while making significant con-
tributions to society.
In this period of economic reces-
sion, more people are entering gradu-
ate schools. And law school seems to
head this University's wish list.
The first step to becoming a law-
ver is of course ottino into liw
sity law school, explained that he looks
for several qualifications in each ap-
He examines the academic record,
test scores, types of courses taken,
and the competitiveness of the under-
graduate institution the applicant at-
Also important, Shields said, are
letters of reference. "The most per-
suasive (letters) are those that are
from faculty members who have
taught the student."
Shields added, "We also look to
have a class that is not only bright and
talented, but is diverse in where they
come from and the academic training
they have received."
Included in this diversity, he said,
is ethnicitv "We want to make sure
he mentioned were LSAT scores and
grade point average, which he said
was adjusted for the quality of stu-
dents' undergraduate schools and the
programs they were in.
For the other half, Bollinger said
the school looks at other factors, such
as campus organizations a student
may have participated in, or types of
jobs an applicant held since they fin-
"We try to pick a class with people
who have distinct features to their
background," Bollinger said.
Who is Applying?
Shields said he doesn't see evi-
dence that law school applications are
coming from predominantly one type
of person. "The difference now from
ten years ago," he said, "is that there
are a lot more women in the national
IM Basketball is out of
Jon Chait's league
a "wars "hero
James Taylor's brother
plays the folk festivat
The University Close-up:
Can you guess where
on campus this object
can be found?
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