The original concept behind the project was simple; I wanted to create a nerdcore
mash-up album by tapping some of my favorite artists from both sides of that
stylistic fence. Yet, upon further reflection, this seemed a bit too narrow
in scope. So I opened things up a bit, first by adding non-hip-hop artists -
dorky rock 'n' rollers and the like - and later by dropping the pretext that
all submissions must be canonical bastard pop. In the process, Old Nerdy
Bastard became more of a musical social experiment. It brought together
a cabal of musicians and producers with but one underlying commonality, a marked
tendency toward good-natured geekery.
But, while that was the established concept, there was
another notable aspect: that of trust.
With rare exception, those who contributed the raw vocal
tracks had no knowledge of the name, style, or caliber of person that had been
chosen to put their song through the sonic Cuisinart. Likewise, many of the
producers left their song choice up to little old me. Essentially, everyone
just trusted to the spirit of the project, which was, from the very start, dumb
In the end, I don't expect any listener to enjoy every track on this album.
And, as much as it pains me to say so, some of the contributors my find their
own tracks wanting, but such is the nature of the beast. I merely hope that
anyone who takes the time to explore the album comes away with a couple of enjoyable
songs under their belt and a better idea of the kinds of artists that are out
there in the nerdy music "meta-community."
Special thanks go out to all the artists involved in the project: those who
ultimately contributed, those who tried but couldn't make it, and those who
politely declined. Despite delay after delay, everyone has been polite and supportive,
and I am genuinely grateful for that.
Thanks to Matt (http://tsuibhne.net/) and Church (http://youtube.com/churchhatestucker)
for always backing me up, not just with this, but also with all my other projects.
If Hipster, please! was a business, you'd be the board of trustees. And
we would sit at a handsome mahogany table. And probably drink beers.
Thanks to Lizz from Wizrocklopedia (http://www.wizrocklopedia.com/) for
being willing to help out with my WRock selections and for helming an amazing
site that is part of, perhaps, the ultimate fan community.
Thanks to Ant from Game Music 4 All (http://gamemusic4all.blogspot.com/) for
helping me get my foot in the door in the greater chiptune/VGM scene, for always
being quick to help when I was in a tough spot, and for letting me shorten his
name to "Ant" just because I'm too damn lazy to type the other four
Thanks to Denika of Joined at the Stitch (http://vagrantaesthetic.com/) for
another great album cover. And yes, that's my picture on it. Denika thought
it'd be funny to have my face next to the words "Old Nerdy Bastard."
I'd love to be pissed, but I find it pretty funny myself.
Thanks to everyone who reads the blog, listens to the podcast, or makes the
effort to download this album. Time is a valuable commodity, and I thank you
for sharing yours with me.
And lastly, thanks to my wife and kids for not complaining
too much when I made them listen to the same songs over and over and over again
for months on end. Rest assured you’ll get at least a few weeks peace before we
do it all again.
For the most part, I delineate between bastard pop and more
traditional remixes in both the title and artist fields. Mash-ups are
attributed to the mashing DJ as artist, and the original performer is credited
first in the X vs. Y vs. Z portion of the track title. Standard remixes,
however, are credited to the original artist, with the responsible DJ recognized
in the song title. There are exceptions, of course, but that simply proves that
I’ve spent entirely too much time thinking on these matters.
The following is the prescribed listening order. Should you
find your listening device of choice does not recognize the proper trackist,
please intervene and set things right. This is some serious shit.
1. Baddd Spellah - "99 Balloon Flights (The Grammar Club vs. Nena)"
Based on "Balloon Flight" from The Grammar Club's Bremelanotide
The Grammar Club created what I consider to be one of the finest independent
albums of 2007, and they were nice enough to contribute a song to the compilation.
When Baddd Spellah came onboard he left it up to me to determine which song
he'd be mixing, and this seemed like a no-brainer. Moreover, the finished product
seemed like the perfect place to start the album.
2. The Weasel King - "Red Hair (2DefMice Nerdy Gospel Mix)"
Based on "Red Hair" from The Weasel King's Musical Decree Number
The Weasel King is a Wizard Rocker that my friend Matt
turned me on to, and I was instantly taken with his classic song-writing style.
When I approached funky49 (and his coconspirator RedVoid) about producing a
track for this album, he showed marked interest in working on a WRock remix,
and, truthfully, I chose this one because funk and The Weasel King look a
little bit alike. Despite this dubious rationale, the song turned out to be one
of my favorite from the entire project.
3. Snake Eyes - "Transformer (Sarah Connor's Wild Ride Mix) (Maja vs. Lou
Reed vs. Traci Chapman vs. Brad Fiedel)"
Based on Maja's "Transformer"
Snake Eyes is the first of a number of contributors that I
encountered while working with Doctor Popular on The Crate Digger Death-match
12-hour music project. I paired him with hip-hopper Maja for reasons
unbeknownst even to me, but the final project speaks for itself. The way in
which the samples - particularly the orchestral hits from The Terminator
theme - are overlaid, and how expertly they mesh with the vocals still amazes
me after countless listens.
4. Random - "Robot City (feat. YTCracker and JonBap) (Larry Legend Remix)"
Based on "Robot City" from Random's Mega Ran album
To me, Random represents the modern incarnation of a of classic hip-hop archetype;
he is an inherently positive musical force with a mind for elevation, inspiration,
and education. He also just so happens to have crafted a groundbreaking nerdcore
concept album. I paired him with Larry Legend, a New York producer and studio
engineer (and CDD participant) who also has an uncanny ear for hip-hop.
5. Ginny and the Heartbreakers - "Halloween at Hogwarts (D-Form Bass Mix)"
Based on "Halloween at Hogwarts" from Ginny and the Heartbreakers'
Love Storm EP
Ginny and the Heartbreakers have an almost acoustic folk sound to much of their
music that probably makes them an odd choice for a remix, but when I heard this
track, with it's haunting vocals and natural lack instrumentation, I was hooked.
Current King of the Crate Diggers, D-Form, came in to do the mix, and he took
it in a really interesting direction.
6. nYgel - "6 MCs (and 1 DJ) Who Like Schoolly D (Commodore 64 vs. Beastie
Boys vs. Bloodhound Gang)"
Based on "3 MCs Who Like Schoolly D" from Commodore 64's Puberty
Commodore 64 was one of the earliest nerd rap acts to find
an audience via the power of the WWW. nYgel, by contrast, is a fresh, young
producer for the current crop of geeky hip-hop aficionados. From the moment
this track made its way to my inbox, I knew nYg was the only man to take it on.
My only regret is not giving him a longer track on which to work his magic.
7. Optimus Rhyme - "Just Forget It (Cheeks Remix)"
Based on "Just Forget It" from Optimus Rhyme's School the Indie
"Just Forget It" represents one of Wheelie Cyberman's most personal,
relatable, and emotional resonance story-songs. I turned it over to DJ Chubby
Cheeks for remixing because I knew he was a fan, and what he sent back was a
variation on a theme. Instead of sounding frustrated and put-upon, Wheelie sounded
maddened, almost maniacal. The strange layering of the chorus came through less
as a vote of confidence and more as a hallucinatory urging from a shattered
mind. What did I expect from a horror movie buff?
8. YTCracker - "In My Time (Dumbledork Remix)"
Based on YTCracker's "In My Time"
I first heard this track as a part of the initial run of Rhyme Torrents compilations,
and it's remained one of my favorite YTCracker songs since. The obvious Potter
reference made it a good match for a WRock producer, and Dumbledork stepped
up. He totally changed to tone of the song, but still stayed true to the power
of YT's delivery. Dumbledork was the first WRock producer I tapped to participate
in the project, and the strength of his submission made it clear I needed to
add more remixers from that community.
9. Brad Sucks - "Sick as a Dog (Antisoc Remix)"
Based on "Sick as a Dog" from Brad Sucks's I Don’t Know What
I'm Doing album
Brad Sucks is less a nerd musician than an open-source musician. Still,
I think he's got definite nerd appeal, and his willingness to let remixers play
with his tracks made him an easy choice for inclusion. Antisocial, also a fervent
proponent of free, fan-supported Internet music, is a friend of mine and a real
fan of Brad. He took the song to an almost dark place, but I couldn't be more
amazed with the results.
10. Harry and the Potters - "Felix Felicis (Dumbledore's DS Mix by Paradise
Dan of Monsterface Industries)"
Based on "Felix Felicis" from Harry and the Potter's Power of Love
When the opportunity to have one of my favorite Potters songs remixed by Paradise
Dan Brennan of Uncle Monsterface fame came up, I jumped on that shit. The deal
was further sweetened when I realized Dan had used chiptune mastermind Pixelh8's
DS performer cartridge to do it, giving the comp that chippy hint I'd been hoping
for. If Dumbledore had a DS, this is the sound it would make.
11. MC Frontalot - "Braggadocio (killsaly's Super Saiyan Remix)"
Based on MC Frontalot's "Braggadocio"
When killsaly told me he'd replaced the chorus of MC Frontalot classic "Braggadocio"
with samples, I didn't know what to think. Then I actually heard it and realized
how cleverly he'd integrated these seemingly unrelated audio clips.
12. MC Hawking - "Why Won’t Jesse Helms Just Hurry Up and Die (Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em Remix)"
Based on MC Hawking's "Why Won’t Jesse Helms Just Hurry Up and Die"
When MC Hawking makes an eleventh hour request to be on your
compilation album you damned sure better let him! I was actually really honored
by the very offer, and I was further flattered when he remixed one of my
favorite tracks for the occasion.
13. Trier Music - "Hyphy Sunglasses (MC Lars vs. ZZ Top vs. John Bonham
vs. Phish vs. Vanilla Ice)"
Based on MC Lars's "White Kids Aren’t Hyphy"
Trier Music sort of came out of nowhere. How I somehow managed not to
know about a guy who makes soundtracks for table-top RPGs is sort of a harsh
critique of my nerd cred, but it's the honest truth. He actually sought me out,
and I'm glad he did. This Lars vs. ZZ Top mash is the first of his two contributions.
14. The Whomping Willows - "This Arboreal Coil (TrierMusic deathstepWTFLOL
Based on "This Arboreal Coil" from The Whomping Willows' III album
I don't know how one describes a dark dubstep remix of a song about the musical
travails of a magical tree, so I won't even bother. I will say, however, that
I find another sonic level to this track every time I hear it. How a piece can
be so sparse yet to unbelievably dense is sort of supernatural in its own right.
15. Hidari - "Clambon (Glenn Case Campfire Singalong Mix)"
Based on "Clambon" from Hidari's Hidari-no Shippo album
I know Hidari through a fellow MC Frontalot fan named Justin, who just so happens
to be this J-rock group's token American. Geeky musician extraordinaire Glenn
Case also knows Justin through the nerdcore community, so despite the fact that
this is probably the least dorky source track on the album it still has
some relevance in the nerd world. It's also a blissful remix - to which Justin
himself contributed - of an amazing track to boot.
16. Dual Core - "Orbit (Remix)"
Based on "Orbit" from Dual Core's Super Powers album
The simple fact is I desperately wanted Dual Core to be a part of this project.
Another interesting verity is that Dual Core's own c64 does the best Dual Core
remixes. Ere go, I asked 64 to remix his own material. Unorthodox, to be sure,
but I stand by the decision. This song is flawless. Yeah, I'd probably classify
it as a mash-up as opposed to a straight remix, but I know better than to get
hung up on semantics when it comes to an excellent track.
17. Schaffer the Darklord - "Nerd Lust (Peeved Remix)"
Based on "Nerd Lust" from Schaffer the Darklord's Mark of the Beast
Of all the Wizard Rocker involved in this project, Peeved was the one with which
I had the least familiarity. I looked him up on Matt's recommendation, and immediately
started hounding him to contribute after hearing his stirring remix of RiddleTM's
"Ode to Voldemort." I paired him up with this Schaffer track, which
has the dubious honor of being STD's only song that doesn't include rampant
profanity and outrageous innuendo. (Not that I've got anything against rampant
profanity and outrageous innuendo, mind you.) This remix managed to take the
nerdy charm of the original and ramp it up even further. I know both parties
are really proud of it, and so am I.
18. The Evolution Control Committee - "Pwn Monkey (Jonathan Coulton vs.
... well, everyone)"
Based on Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey"
Trademark G of The Evolution Control Committee, another connection I made through
the CDD, was the first remixer to sign on for this project. This was quite a
coup for me, as TM is literally the man that kicked off the modern bastard pop
revolution. He's also a musician for whom I have an enormous amount of respect.
The same can be said for Mr. Coulton, so this brilliant meta-mash-up seemed
to be the only suitable way to end the album.
And that, as they say, is that. Thanks for taking the time to read this far.
You deserve some sort of medal for your tenacity, but, sadly, I'm fresh out.
Instead, let me thank you yet again. Because you're worth it.