So, a couple years ago, between listening interchangably to grunge rock and electronic music non stop, and smoking a strain of extremely high-CBD-packed medical marijuana that a certain dispensary in San Jose had called, ‘The White,’ an idea formed in my head:
‘What if I remixed old grunge rock tunes?’
Well, I hit up a couple of forums, most notably, Glitch Hop Forum, and I presented the idea to the fine folks on those fantastic forums, and it turned out there were a number of people who were interested in collaborating. Thus, the Grungestep Compilation was born. Many fine musicians, from Figgy to sAuce, Sidereal, Michael Pan Cocoa, Dual, CancerofLove, Konekta, myself (StrangeFlow) and many more, the two Grungestep compilations that emerged were a lot of fun. And though the somewhat-jaded grungeforum seemed to be quite offended (as well as a good chunk of the internet) many folks enjoyed these mixes. It was actually a pretty polarizing concept. Many old rock fans, a few years ago, didn’t take too kindly of some ‘techno DJs’ remixing their favorite classic songs (this was about a year or so before dubstep changed SOME of that notion…) But whatever. Fuck em :) It was fun, so who cares?
Anyway, about a week ago, Mad Buddha hit me up and asked if he could put a video to my remix of Alice in Chains’ ‘Them Bones,’ tune. But, I had to let him know that it wasn’t a remix I had personally done – it was a remix by Sidereal, a talented electronic musician I originally met on Glitch Hop Forum. Sidereal made a dope (dope! dope! dope!) remix of ‘Them Bones,’ and Mad Buddha was so interested in this remix that he took it upon himself to make a video for it. So, here’s that video:
You can download the video if you want. Or, to get the full Grungestep Compilations downloaded (also free / ‘pay what you want’ from Bandcamp) you can grab that shit here.
The Grungestep Compilation appeared on Soul Outsider Records, which was a label I set up for awhile, releasing these grungey compilations, as well as several StrangeFlow albums, including the “rare” ‘Slacker Crunk LP,’ in which I tried to take the grunge-remixing concept a step further, creating full songs that borrowed heavily from grunge music, instead of merely making full-on remixes. Both concepts were fun, and people seemed to enjoy them. Though, the Grungestep Compilations may have been a couple years ahead of their time (or maybe I’m just an over-pontificating fuck-ass) because, a year or so after these compilations came out, two things happened – 1) electronic music saw a real rise in popularity – and, 2) something else is starting to happen now: the sounds of the 90s are starting to come back. Slowly, but it’s happening.
((This, above, was the tune that originally inspired the whole compilation. It was by Dual, a delightful Polish DJ / producer, and it’s a remix of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ ))
Albeit, it’s mostly the electronic, and SOME hip hop (and SOME r&b) music from the 90s that’s starting to get played out again, but you have to keep in mind, if a full-on 90s-influenced ‘flashback’ happens, rock will be the last to know about it… Rock is, at this point, an institution / dinosaur / slow-moving-corporate-entity, and like other entities similar to it, it sometimes takes a minute for something as jaded and set in it’s path to really change it’s style up and move in a different direction. It’s not as much the fault of the musicians (well, it somewhat is, but only SOMEWHAT) but really, it’s more the fault of rock “journalists” and media outlets, like MTV, or Rolling Stone Magazine, which somehow makes a whole magazine out of talking about how awesome Bon Jovi and Springsteen still (???) are.
But whatever, this isn’t really an article about how terrible Rolling Stone Magazine is, I’m just saying, there’s a commercially vested interest in keeping an anti-establishment style of music (…& I mean a TRUE anti-establishment style, not just some bullshit pop-punk “REVOLUCION!” nonsense) far away from the radio, as 90% of what you hear on mainstream radio is payola, where million (or billion?) dollar corporations pay million (or billion?) dollar radio monopolies/conglomerates to pay the newest tune by Justin Bieber, Rhianna – or whomever has been chosen, this time around, to soak up the love and praises that these corporations manipulate 14 year olds into adoring.
((This, above, was my own remix for the first Grungestep Comp, and it’s a remix of Beck’s ‘Loser.’ I had fun with it. ))
Now, before anyone chastises me for bitching about the influence of money in music (“Because, StrangeFlow, you, too, run a company!”) let me point out that I’m not (at all!) against making money. But there’s a pretty large distinction, in my eyes and in the eyes of anyone reasonable, between 1) trying to pay the rent AND 2) making billions by diluting a majority of the music people have access to as far as conventional media outles go. In other words, you don’t have to be a hippie to see how fucked up things are. Eh?
Alright, well, this has turned into quite the little rant.
Here’s the Compilation:
Anyway, thanks again, Mad Buddha, for bringing back the Grungestep Compilation with this tremendous remix-video of a grunge remix. Mad props!! My favorite shot is when it looks like the shark is going to eat Alice in Chains. Fun shit.