Day: December 24, 2012

15 BEST MIXES OF 2012

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For the immediate future, expect to hear the term EDM a lot. Many strides have been made by people with money to build the dance music scene in the United States into an empire of beats, festivals, and cash. What gets lost in these discussions of “had dubstep peaked?” or “what the fuck is Trap?” are the DJs who are out there providing the soundtrack to these festivals, secret raves, and club nights. In a time where EDM is buzzing, without a serious radio push, the DJ turns into the program director. And with bedroom DJs popping up and getting opportunities to spin anywhere that has some extra cash and a Serato box, it can get dicey when trying to find the right mix to rock to. That’s where we come in (obviously), right?

These are the mixes that got us moving throughout the year, and the ones we dug back into when we couldn’t rock to that Lil Poopy mixtape again (sorry, Poop). The line-up is indicative of where the EDM scene was at in 2012, although we wish there were more house/techno mixes out there. Maybe next year? {CHECK OUT THE LIST}

 

Five Headphones That Bring Video Game Sound Alive

When it comes to new video game technology, graphics are usually the focus. That’s sure to be the case as the game industry gears up for the launches of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft next Xbox for fall 2013. But a large part of any entertainment experience is sound. With video games, sound is especially important as surround technology can actually help players hear which direction enemies are coming from. There’s a reason pro gamers wear those headphones when they’re at eSports events and when they’re alone at home. Headphones fully immerse gamers in these virtual worlds. Below are five great ways to hear the best games of 2012 and beyond. These headphones are of various price points for any consumer, and they’re a small sampling of what’s out there in the tech world — but a sampling I’ve been able to test on my own.

Astro A50 Wireless Headset, Astro Gaming, $300 – Skullcandy’s gaming division, Astro Gaming, is a mainstay at eSports events and one of the most popular brands with gamers. The A50 Headset is its latest offering, and it comes with a complete package. Everything from the headphones stand, which looks like it’s out of a Terminator movie, to the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, is state-of-the-art. These are very comfortable headphones. And wireless is the way to go with any gaming gear these days. Everything you need for the ultimate gaming session is packed into this case, including three unique EQ modes for differentiating Hollywood movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter from shooters like Borderlands 2. Recharging your headset is a snap, too. If you have the money, this is a sound investment.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Ear Force Tango, Turtle Beach, $300 – With Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II raking in over $1 billion, fans of Activision’s shooter can pick up a copy of these limited edition headphones. Part of a full line-up of licensed COD headphones, the Tango boasts Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, which is delivered through Dual-Band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi so gamers can pinpoint the direction of every gunshot and footstep. Turtle Beach headphones are prominent on the eSports circuit around the globe, and for good reason. These wireless headphones come with specific audio presets and voice prompts from developer Treyarch, but they’re also fully customizable for gamers to get the perfect sound. Fans of COD will likely want to flaunt these, but Turtle Beach has an entire line of non-licensed headphones available, as well. Beats Executive, Beats by Dr. Dre, $300 – For those who are looking for a more professional look while gaming on the go or at home, these sleek matte silver and black Beats Executive headphones offer solid surround sound and decent noise cancellation. These comfortable headphones are great for long flights with PS Vita or tablet gaming at 30,000 feet or intense Halo 4 War Games battles at home. Since separating from Monster, Beats has done a great job of establishing itself as its own brand. That “b” is well known by most consumers these days. And these wireless headphones are a step in the right direction to provide a better option for more gamers out there – for music, gaming and other entertainment. One gripe is the use of AAA batteries (which last about 25 hours) instead of a rechargeable battery, but maybe next time. These headphones aren’t my first recommendation for gamers, but they worked fine on the games I tested them on (Assassin’s Creed III, Halo 4, NHL 13). Tracks HD Anthem; Sol Republic, $150 – Anyone who watched the Olympics saw Michael Phelps with Sol Republic headphones on outside of the pool. Phelps used this brand of headphones to prepare before each swimming event. A portion of the proceeds from sales of these new red, white and blue headphones, which feature V10 HD Sound Engines, will go to the Michael Phelps Foundation. The all-time Olympic record medalist is a huge gamer. You can see my interview with him here, talking about his Kinect for Xbox 360 game Push the Limit. These days he’s likely using these headphones for music and gaming, which is something you can do too. With the lower price point, these headphones offer solid sound for portable gaming. PDP Afterglow Wireless Universal Headset; PDP, $90 – I’ve always been a fan of TRON and these unlicensed, affordable wireless headphones look like they’re straight out of that movie/video game universe. They’re not for everyone, but for those on a budget, these headphones pack a lot of great sound (and cool neon lights) for the money. There are three audio modes to choose from: Pure Audio, Bass Boost and a surround sound- like Immersive Audio mode. With the lower price point, there’s no Dolby, and the sound here is noticeably less impressive than the more expensive headphones on this list. But for its budget price point, these headphones bring games to life for decent bursts of time in great fashion. They work with any gaming system or PC out there, as well. Battery life is about 10 hours.

Surmounting Struggles In Life and Onstage

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NEWARK — Fred Hammond walked onstage after a technical delay: a big man in jeans, a dark blazer and rectangular glasses moving uncharismatically, stiffly, maybe wearily. A small band — two keyboardists, a bassist and a drummer — formed a crescent at some distance from him, and he stood alone at center stage. No choir or backup singers, no guitar player, and he wasn’t playing bass, an instrument he’s been associated with since he played backup with the gospel group the Winans in the early 1980s; as an equal member of the ensemble Commissioned later that decade, when he was helping to reshape gospel music along modern black-pop lines; and on his own records, sometimes with the choir Radical for Christ, in the ’90s and beyond. Would he carry this concert? The charisma came out in other ways. The show, Friday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center here, which began with a set from the A-Zamar choir from Rahway, N.J., became a fascinating example of what precision bandleading, narrative connectivity, musical intelligence, improvisation, spiritual grace and the power of the voice can do when the body has limitations. Mr. Hammond, who turns 52 on Thursday, has a temperate tenor voice and uses it as an instrument, ornamenting melodies all over the place. He doesn’t grandstand much; he only exhorts five people in the audience at a time, knowing that hundreds more will comply. He rarely shouts except when he preaches, or to kick off a song. (“A flat!” he’d command; the band would play on the chord, and he’d start singing, letting the band catch up.) His high register isn’t quite a falsetto; it’s even and humble, a tonal shift in tense moments. CONTINUE READING

Frank Ocean Releases Axed ‘Django Unchained’ Track, ‘Wise Man’

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Quentin Tarantino cut Frank Ocean from the Django Unchained soundtrack, but the singer made the track he wrote and recorded for the film available through his Tumblr site on Saturday. Movie Review: ‘Django Unchained’ “Frank Ocean wrote a fantastic ballad that was truly lovely and poetic in every way, there just wasn’t a scene for it,” Tarantino said of the song. “I could have thrown it in quickly just to have it, but that’s not why he wrote it and not his intention. So I didn’t want to cheapen his effort. But, the song is fantastic, and when Frank decides to unleash it on the public, they’ll realize it then.” Ocean offered a concise appraisal alongside the posted track: “django was ill without it.”

CHECK OUT THE SONG: http://soundcloud.com/oftalk/wise-man-frank-ocean

 

Rounding Up the Weekend’s Best NBA Tweets

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It was a fun-filled weekend in the NBA, and if you missed a lick of it then I would suggest going back and taking a look at everything that went down firsthand. Of course, most people don’t really have that time on hand, so I’ll go ahead and give you a little bit of help along the way. Let’s take a look back at the weekend (well, the Friday, Saturday and early Sunday at least) with all of your favorite NBA tweeters giving us a nice little recap of what we saw around the league since Friday. Just scratching the surface would be Steve Nash’s return to the Los Angeles Lakers, the DeMarcus Cousins incident, Terrence Ross continuing to wow us and a timeless matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the Charlotte Bobcats.

{LET’S BEGIN}