Volume 95, Issue 11

Wednesday, September 19, 2001
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Big Wreck enjoys the greedy pleasures of fame

Q-Burns Abstract Magic: makin' DJs play Britney

Sarah Slean: a drunk, old woman

Welch's voice a Timeless entity

Q-Burns Abstract Magic: makin' DJs play Britney

By Andrea Chiu
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
MUSICAL MASTERMIND OF PHYSICAL WONDER? YOU DECIDE. Q-Burns rolls into DV8 tonight with Buck 64. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Having grown up in a small Louisiana town, Michael Donaldson, AKA Q-Burns Abstract Message, has since moved to Orlando, Florida. In between, however, he's toured around the world with some of the big names in electronic music, including Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers.

Donaldson's latest album, Invisible Airline, is an eclectic electronic album that gives nods to everything from dance beats fit for any drunken dance floor, to the sounds of New Order-influenced synthesizers.

Donaldson's resumé of remixes is equally as impressive. It's a long list that includes everyone from Faith No More to Britney Spears.

No, "Britney Spears," is not a typo. Donaldson is actually quite proud of his work with the young popstar's music.

"Once I finished [Invisible Airline], I was like 'God, I just wanna' do something really ridiculous and stupid.' I called my friend at Jive [Records] and said 'What have you got for me?' and he said 'I have this Britney Spears acapella,' and I said, 'Perfect,'" Donaldson explains. "They haven't used it, but I think it's one of my favorite things I've ever done."

When producing his own work, Donaldson draws from diverse influences. Invisible Airline, although not quite a "world" music album, excels with the aid of some subtle worldly sounds – an element that was not necessarily a conscious decision, but rather a natural addition.

"I allowed my influences and [the] different things I'm into to manifest themselves and as I am into a lot of ethnic sounds as well, it's natural for them to come into play," he explains.

Donaldson sees the combination of various sounds and genres as an exciting and positive thing.

"The thing I'm most interested in is the fusion of different genres and what happens when they collide," he says, enthusiastically. "When that happens, a musical genre usually moves forward and there's new innovation. You often get all these really bizarre sounds and styles that are uncharted territory, in a way.

"I think it's really amazing that in this time of information networks and instant access, there are still things to be discovered [and] I think there always will be just because people keep creating all these genres and sub-genres as they collide with each other," he says.

The interest Donaldson has in discovering new ways to express music is precisely the reason why he prefers the title "producer" over "DJ." According to him, although he loves every second of it, DJing is more of an instinctual, momentary creation of music.

"As a DJ, I just want to make people dance, that primal, kind of bass thing. As a producer, it's a little more complicated, not that making people dance isn't complicated. But, as a producer, I guess it's more artistic, trying to make something last," Donaldson insists.

"There's a different mindset that goes into making [music] as either [a DJ or a producer]. Because of that, there's more complexity and more thought put into producing, but that doesn't make the DJing aspect any less [important]."

On his current Canadian tour, Donaldson stresses he won't be performing a completely live show. Instead, he's wearing his DJ hat. He promises a positive musical experience nonetheless.

"I do a lot of manipulation, like layering tracks on top of each other. Plus, I drink way too much and dance around like a fool, which I guess is kind of entertaining as well."

In November, Donaldson plans on returning to Canada. Instead of performing tracks as a DJ, he'll travel with a live band, including Invisible Airline vocalist, Lisa Shaw.

With a thirst for new music and sounds, Michael Donaldson is an artist willing and excited to push new musical boundaries, making him, Q-Burns, someone to keep an eye and ear on.

Q-Burns performs tonight @ DV8 with Buck 65. Tickets are $5 and doors open at 9 p.m..

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