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April 09, 2009 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-09

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4B - Thursday, April 9, 2009 theb-side

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


As original as hip hop can be

DailyArts Writer
It's as true now as it was 15
years ago: OutKast is the cool-
est motherfucking band on the
planet. For proof, let's turn to
the mastermind behind the out-
fit, Andre 3000. Who else can get
away with asking "What's cooler
than being cool?" while standing
on stage wearing a WASPy argyle
sweater vest and a pink bow tie?
And who can actually receive a
wave of ecstatic response because
of those comments? Not even the
seemingly infallible Lil Wayne
could pull that one off.
Even from the beginning, Out-
Kast just seemed to get every-
thing right. The group's debut,
1994's Southernplayalisticadillac-
muzik, was an innovative, funk-
'n'-grits style hip-hop album that
made critics gush and produced
the top-20 hit "Players Ball."
Butwhile OutKast's firstalbum
was an unquestionable success,
the release ofATLiens,the group's
sophomore effort, defined when
OutKast really became OutKast.
Where Southernplaya focused on
more traditional hip-hop themes,
ATLiens saw the pair move away
from weed, women and pimping
to tackle subjects rarely heard
in hip hop at the time. There's
the honest-to-goodness love
song "Jazzy Belle," in which
Andre shows early signs of his
strong moral concern that would

later inform songs like The Love rhythms that would make top
Below's "Behold a Lady": "I hate jazz musicians blush. To hear
thinking that these the future Andre ease through the tongue-
mommas of our children / They cramping rhyme "While the rest
fuckin' a different nigga every of the countrybungies offbridges
time they get the feelin' to." without no snap back and bitches
There are also moments of they say they need that to shake
intense introspection, like in they fannies in the ass clubs" -
"Millennium": "I never lived up all in only two measures - is to
to my expectations soI accept the hear sheer genius at work.
patience / Expect the worse but Then there's the production.
now I'm pacin'/ back and forth, For the second disc in a row,
inside." It's not an accident that OutKast chose to work with
a lot of the rhymes on the record Atlanta-based production squad
Organized Noize. Using gener-
ous doses of live instrumenta-
tion, the beats blend interstellar
'ATLiens' funk with laid-back Southern
soul. Never overwhelming, the
defined when music provided a comfortable,
groovy backdrop perfect for
OutKast became the duo's athletic verses to take
center stage - which is exactly
OutKast. where they belong.
ATLiens is pioneering, com-
pletely original and about as good
as a hip-hop album can get. It's
seem remarkably clear-headed - amazing, then, that it isn't even
Andre made the choice to give up OutKast's best record. Stanko-
all substances before recording. nia and even Aquemini somehow
On the title track, he spits "We improved on the few things Out-
be so sincere with this here / No Kast got wrong onATLiens. How-
drugs or alcohol so I can get the ever, it is the album with which
signal clear." one of music's most compelling
It wasn't just that ATLiens was groups formed its identity, and
unlike anything in hip hop, nay, it was the first real step for one
music, in 1996. Innovation aside, of the most successful careers
the group's pure vocal skills were in modern music. Before "Rosa
enough to make the album a Parks," "Hey Ya" and argyle
classic. Big Boi and Andr6 made sweater vests, there was ATLiens
emceeing a sport, spitting out hinting at the things to come.

From Page 1B
and insights. Not only do the other instruments
make it possible to see Beethoven's progression in
terms of the piano sonata, but they also annotate
everything else that was going on in his head: cello
parts, brass quintet parts, etc. Keeping these differ-
ent instruments in mind affects how the students
hear their own piano performances as well.
"It gave me abetter understanding of what
Beethoven was thinking," Gaqi said.
Gaqi spoke with enthusiasm about his experience
playingseveral of the sonatas. Working with the
wind quartet in Opus 102 influenced his percep-
tion of the piano sonata, Opus 90, allowing him to
hear the possibility of the wind instruments even in

his solo performance. Cultivating an awareness of
Beethoven's musical context is vital for understand-
ing the "causation" Whiting hoped to uncover.
Similarly, Whiting expressed the benefit of listen-
ing to Schiff's interpretations.
"(Schiff's approach to music) is characterized by
a great deal of propriety, an incredible range of tone
colors and a minimum of histrionics and sustain-
ing pedal," he said. "He's not giving you mush, but
clarity. He's about to confront the foremost massive
ssonatas in the 32, and it's going to be a particular
pleasure to hear what a performer that's so associ-
ated with the music of J.S. Bach is going to do with
all the fugal material."
For Whiting and his students, the Beethoven
series may be just the beginning.
"I'd like to do something with Haydn's string
quartets," he said. "I'd love that."




Jerome Ringo
President,The Apollo Alliance
San Francisco, CA
Fmr. Chair of the Board
National Wildlife Federation
"The Color of Green:
The Next Inconvenient

David M. Uhimann
Director of the Environmental
Law & Policy Program
Speaker Introduction
MarkVan Putten
Public Interest/Public Service
Faculty Fellow
Room 250 Hutchins Hall
Law School



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