Saturday, May 05, 2012

Adam Yauch: A round-up

As you might imagine, there's a lot of Adam Yauch memories being shared online today. Here's a quick dip into some of them. points out that he was a Beastie Boys multitasker:

With Adam Yauch's passing, the Beastie Boys have lost not one, but two members. Under the name (lederhosen, and fake-beard) of Nathanial Hornblower, the erstwhile MCA shaped the band's visual legacy from the '80s up to the present day. Yauch directed many of the Beasties' best videos -- though his alter-ego wasn't necessarily relegated to behind the camera. (In 1994, for instance, Hornblower crashed the stage at the MTV VMAs, stealing the mic from R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe -- who wasn't as acquainted with the "Swiss" director as the kids at home.)
Spinner shook Twitter for responses:
"In times of doubt I can think on the dharma and the enlightened ones who graduated samsara" #RIPMCA -- Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend

The Beastie Boys basically invented the concept of the cool white person. #RIPMCA -- Chromeo

Such sad news about Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. A fellow Buddhist and part of hip hop history!! R.I.P! -- Boy George

RIP Adam Yauch. You made my teenage years more fun and your art made it easier for me to do what I do. For a Beastie, you sure were a beaut. -- Kevin Smith, filmmaker
Rolling Stone reprints their 1998 Beasties cover story:
Adam "MCA" YAUCH – the spiritual seeker – what of him? He registers under the name I. Clouseau, as in Inspector Clouseau, for he is a huge Peter Sellers fan. His favorite Sellers movie is The Party. "He plays an Indian actor," Yauch says, "and the movie was banned in India because he is playing this bumbling idiot in the middle of all these white people, and some Indian people were insulted by it. But the irony is that he's really the only intelligent person there – all the other people are morons. So it has a cool theme."

Cool, yes, and you are free to interpret it as you wish: as an anti-racist parable related by a white rapper; as a parable about the Beasties themselves, who started out acting the idiot and worked hard to convince the world that they are, in fact, intelligent people; or, more simply, as the plot of a fairly funny movie from the Sixties.
Wired's Underwired music column salutes Yauch's role in remix culture:
Specifically, he was the thoughtful one when it came to the Beasties’ ethos on sampling, telling Wired in 2004 how the group approached sampling and how he felt about other artists borrowing from Beastie Boys’ cuts.

“It’s totally context. And it depends on how much of our song they’re using and how much of a part it plays in their song,” he said. “We might take a tiny little insignificant sound from a record and then slow it way down and put it deep in the mix with, like, 30 other sounds on top of it. It’s not even a recognizable sample at that point. Which is a lot different than taking a huge, obvious piece from some hit song that everyone knows and saying whatever you want to on top of that loop.”
On Matthew Horton captures the way the band's early activities might have left them frozen in some parts of the public's mind:
In the consciousness of your mums, dads and Daily Express readers, the Beastie Boys will always be those snotty-nosed frat boys winching a colossal phallus, but through Yauch's vision they changed hip-hop's mindset and as a collective with a ridiculous lack of inhibitions they influenced everyone from A Tribe Called Quest to Eminem, Guru to Gorillaz, Beck to blimmin' Limp Bizkit. Yauch, you were the funkiest of bosses and you'll be missed.
As you might expect, it's the New York Times Artsbeat blog which records the facts:
Mr. Yauch’s mother said he died at 9 a.m. on Friday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan with his parents, his in-laws, his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and his 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch, at his bedside. He had been admitted to the hospital on April 14 after a three-year battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was conscious until the end.

“He was a very courageous person,” his mother, Frances Yauch, said. “He fought a long battle with cancer. He was hopeful to the very end.”

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