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Kanye bootlegs himself: Why you should hear the rapper’s Coachella recording

Kanye bootlegs himself: Why you should hear the rapper’s Coachella recording (photo)

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On Monday, Kanye West released a free recording of his entire 96-minute set from last month’s Coachella. Split into 32 tracks, the show gathers most of West’s hits–or at least glimpses of them–into one compressed, downloadable file. To that end, it reads a little like a greatest hits mixtape, gathering “Gold Digger” alongside a crowd-gone-crazy version of “All of the Lights,” “Power” right beside a thundering rendition of “Jesus Walks.” It’s a testament to Kanye’s pop status, a reminder that–for all his controversy, ego, Twitter tangents and genuinely surprising ideas–he’s got hits, and we know them. I’ve been listening to the set again and again all week, and each time, I’m surprised anew by West’s canonical barrage.

But if you’ve ever been a jam-band junkie, or simply listened to most any live recording, you know that concert tapes often sound sort of crummy. They’re not initially mixed for headphones, and they’re not the proper avenue for crafting flawless takes of tunes from multiple takes. They require a certain suspension of expectations, so that you hear unnecessary echo, muffled or garbled segments and crowd noise as atmosphere, not distractions. West’s Coachella tape is no different: One portion of “Jesus Walks” sounds horrible, and one of the set’s few guests, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, out-sings West into shameful submission on “Monster.” He and Pusha T never quite nail the timing of “Runaway,” either. All the strange interludes and monologues are here, too, stripped of their flashing-lights and ballerina-accompanied mystique. You just have to listen.

It’s a strange look for one of the most recognizable pop stars in the world, releasing imperfect versions of his biggest hits for free simply because he can. You don’t generally consider hip-hop to be the domain of live releases, as the ship is generally run pretty tightly by a DJ who plays the instrumental track upon request and stands back to let the artist deliver the verses and hooks people know from the radio. West played with a full band, sure, but you get the sense that even this set is one that leaves little margin for error and is bound to be repeated. But on these tracks, even without watching video of the night, there’s the inescapable feeling that West is busting his ass, leaving all his energy and emotion on the stage. From the moment the crowd first freaks out until he has them waiting for more during a “Chariots of Fire” interlude, you understand that he’s the bandleader and the crowdleader, a puppet master capable of a performance with as much movement and structure as the best rock set. It’s a musical movement that bears circulating.

Writing for Spin after the performance, William Goodman described West’s Coachella set as the rapper’s “bold, singular artistic moment.” By releasing the live recording of the set for free, you get the sense that West feels the same way, too. Perfect engineering or no, this tape shows that West is an entertainer unafraid of any form’s natural bounds.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.