Tag: Trance Music

Ithaka’s The Lost Acapellas (So Get Up)

Ithaka’s The Lost Acapellas (So Get Up)

In early, 2017, Los Angeles-based independent music label, Sweatlodge Records will release the seventh album by the Californian songwriter, Ithaka, entitled, So Get Up & The Lost Acapellas. The record will include thirteen of Ithaka’s vocalized poems (without music), many of which were written during 1992 and 1993, two of the six years that the artist lived in Lisbon. Also, as a bonus track, the original 1993 demo-version of So Get Up will appear.

There in Portugal, Ithaka was regularly recited his texts and rhymes for the daily radio program, Quatro Bairro on the national station, Rádio Comerical. Ten of the poems offered on the Lost Acapellas release were written and recorded specifically for the radio program and later (in mid-1993) were rerecorded as voice-over and musical demos on a visit to England. These recordings, were missing for 23 years until recently being discovered in a Los Angeles storage unit on a antiquated cassette tape.

Among these early acapella poems is So Get Up, most recently re-popularized by Armin Van Buuren and Cosmic Gate, which today (twenty-four years and more than a thousand releases and adaptions later) is considered The Most Remixed Vocal Acapella In Musical History (by Guinness World Records – 2016, 2017).

Ithaka first wrote So Get Up in a small cafe in Amoeira near Rádio Comerical about an hour before going on air with it for his slot on Quatro Bairro, unfortunately this very first recording has never been recovered. He did however, as mentioned, record it a second time in the U.K – to present to radio producers and possibly record companies.

There working at Rádio Comerical, Ithaka met DJ Vibe (Portugal’s most prominent DJ), who played an hour of progressive house music immediately following Ithaka’s segments. There Vibe usually heard the end of Ithaka’s vocal sequences and was intrigued by the poems. Some months later, he invited him to participate as a guest vocalist on the first release by Underground Sound Of Lisbon (a progressive house duo consisting of Vibe and Rui Da Silva) for Kaos Records.

They recorded Ithaka’s vocal in the early hours of a rainy winter night at the garage studio, 1 Só Céu, owned by the Portuguese rock band called, Os Delfins.

Ithaka was told by Kaos (a micro label at the time) that they would make 200 white-labels vinyls for distribution within Portugal only. They paid him $70 dollars for his participation, with a verbal promise to discuss any future distributions and manufacturing that would possibly follow. And weeks later, from just that single white-label distribution, the song exploded into an almost instantaneous national dance floor classic.

Although open-minded musically, Ithaka was more associated with hip hop, surfing and contemporary art more than dance music and only infrequently appeared at the clubs his apocalyptic poem had literally become an anthem for an entire generation of club goers, inspiring even people who never liked dance music to get involved.

Ironically, Kaos Records and Underground Sound Of Lisbon themselves never made a point of explaining who the mystery prophet was and nobody seemed to ask, the press included – even though Ithaka was indeed the actual performer and owned 50% of the publishing.

“I remember specifically on a couple of occasions trying to get into Lisbon-area night clubs, which was always a chore because of the wait to get in, and there in line, two different times during height of the song’s first wave of popularity, I could hear So Get Up playing on the dance floor…The first was at Frágil in Bairro Alto – and I said to the snob at the door, hey man, that’s me, my voice…let me in. And the doorman said, if that was you…I would know who you are AND I DON’T! – And the other time, a few months later, was at ALCÂNTARA, when I again declared that that was my voice with hundreds of people shouting the lyrics on top of it muffled behind the thick curtains out the dance floor..and that doorman said, Yes, my friend, and Elvis is still alive too!

In late 1994, Ithaka left Portugal for four months back to Los Angeles for an art exhibit – and during that short amount of time, Kaos Records had licensed So Get Up, without consulting him, to several international parties most notably Tribal Records -USA, a sub-subsidiary of Miles Copeland’s I.R.S. Records (EMI).

Although Rob Di Stefano, the managing director of Tribal Records had met Ithaka on a previous trip to Portugal, and obviously understood he was from California and only temporarily residing in Portugal, he realized the marketing potential of an exotic 100% Portuguese house music product arriving in the U.S. for the first time and made no attempt to publicize the vocalist’s true origins. No featuring Ithaka credit was ever included on any of the releases, even though he is both the author and the vocalist. Yes, this is dance music, but no matter how good or bad the production is, no one can deny that the vocal-poem and adjoining hooks are the primal guts of the entire So Get Up experience. How else could it possibly appeal to such a large musical spectrum of DJs and producers?

The first 1994 release of So Get Up on Tribal was a double-vinyl set with ten-mixes, including several versions by New York superstars Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia. The early international popularity of So Get Up was undoubtfully manifested by these interpretations by Vasquez and Tenaglia. Two New York all-stars creating music around the words of a California hip hop wordsmith. To call So Get Up, even at that point, a 100% Portuguese release, was inaccurate at best. The first release by Tribal, which sold upwards of 50,000 copies, also included an uncredited acapella of Ithaka’s raw poem – which paved the way for a vast multitude of remixes and samplings over a huge cross-section of electronic musical genres.

With the exception of Stretch & Verne’s legally licensed rerecord “Get Up, Go Insane!” in 1997 (and subsequently Fatboy Slim’s remix of that), every other international release of So Get Up has essentially been unauthorized. It is fair to say that every (of the more than a thousand mixes released) house, trance, techno, electro, drum & bass, big beat, dub step, and art rock versions – under their varying titles of “So Get Up”, “Get Up”, “Forget The Past”, “the End Of The Earth”, “Have A Blast”, “Headcharge”, “Hardaventure”, etc. have been issued illegally. No record royalties or performance royalties have ever been paid to the vocalist/lyricist although all have been made using Ithaka’s 1994 recording – made that late night way back when in Cascais, Portugal. By the most recent estimates of Ithaka’s publisher attempting to recoup his writing shares, So Get Up in it’s many incarnations has been either sold or downloaded more than 30,000,000 times and approximately 250,000,000 have at least heard the poem. Whether payment ever falls into the right hands, time will only tell.

Ithaka himself has had an unusual career (and life) to say the least. He came to recording not thru music itself, but via music photography, visual arts….and reading books. For nearly three years, among his many other sporadic occupations, Ithaka was the principal photographer for Priority Records gangster rap icons, NWA and Eazy E , but that’s a story for another day.

In 1992, attempting to expand his boundaries outside of the Southern California area, the half-Greek, Ithaka Darin Pappas, set off soul-searching. He first relocated to Athens for six months and then spent a year in Tokyo, finally landing in Lisbon where he spent more than six years.

During this six-year period in Portugal, Ithaka was hyper-productive. He recorded So Get Up (and many other poems), made two award-winning hip hop albums, published translated poems and short stories in Portuguese magazines – and had several large scale sculpture exhibits of his work. He also photographically documented much of the early and mid-nineties Portuguese music scene, shooting record covers for rock, hip hop and EDM projects.

Armin Van Buuren Rediscovers “So Get Up” – (Ithaka’s timeless EDM vocal-poem)

Armin Van Buuren Rediscovers “So Get Up” – (Ithaka’s timeless EDM vocal-poem)

“So Get Up” Armin Van Buuren featuring Ithaka

In 2013, twenty years after it was first written and recorded, trance legend Armin Van Buuren re-introduced Ithaka’s iconic EDM vocal poem So Get Up (The End Of The Earth) to a new generation by playing a version by Cosmic Gate on his popular global A State Of Trance radio program and featuring it on his mix album A State Of Trance 2013 (Armada Records).

Ithaka Darin Pappas: writer vocalist of the apocalyptic, So Get Up

In March of 1993, a demo version of So Get Up was recorded in Manchester, United Kingdom with producer S. Bradshaw. And later, in February of 1994, Ithaka was invited to rerecord the poem for the B-Side of the first vinyl release of Underground Sound Of Lisbon on Kaos Records, Portugal. It was an almost instant national hit and soon released (along with an acapella version) internationally by Tribal (USA), a subsidiary of Stuart Copeland’s IRS Records in New York.

Interestingly, although the poem was written and vocalized by Ithaka a year before ever meeting Underground Sound Of Lisbon, no public vocal credit was included on those first releases.

The USL version and the new remixes by Junior Vazquez and Danny Tenaglia were quite popular themselves (selling at least 50,000 units) but because an acapella was included in these major distributions, literally hundreds of new mixes appeared in just a few years. Many producers simply changed the title (sometimes not) and put the entire vocal on their own instrumentals and called it their own.

The vocal acapella has also been released under the titles; “Get Up”, “Get Up Go Insane”, “So Get Up Atom Bride”, “The End Of the Earth”, “Next Life”, “See You In The Next Life”, “Intro”, “Headcharge” and “Hardventure”

The vocal itself has never had a sonic style specifically associated with it, it has kept changing it’s clothes and modernizing itself with the times.

The spoken-word acapella was originally read on-air on top of an instrumental version of a Naughty-By-Nature hip hop song, and this UK demo version is a mid-tempo electro-style track,. The vocal never had a sonic style specifically associated with it,
it has kept changing it’s clothes and modernizing itself with the times.

The USL, Tenaglia and Junior Vazquez versions were progressive and tribal house

And since then have versions have appeared in almost every avenue of global electronic music such as; Trance, Dubstep, Drum & Bass, Big Beat, Trip Hop, Tech House, Electronic Art Rock etc.

Groups, producers and DJs that have released So Get Up inculude; Derek Marin, Peter Bailey, Pagano, Ben Gold, Eric Kupper, Cosmic Gate, Armin Van Buuren, Ricardo Diaz, Nixu Zsun, Oxia (France), Mert Yucel (Turkey), Igor Carmo (Portugal), Miss Kittin (Germay), Public Domain (Holland), Fat Boy Slim (Norman Cook) UK, Stretch & Verne (UK), Lexington Avenue, Damage People, Mirabeau, Ma-Beckerfield, FuturePlays (from Mexico), Dj Screw (Thailand), Djz Rom (Cambodia), Technoboy (Italy), Frankyeffe (Italy), Maik Ibane, Murt Yucel (Turkey), Mowree (Italy), Razat (Portugal), Tuneboy (Italy), K-Traxx (Italy), Dylan Hilsley (UK), DJ Vibe, Cee Cee Lee (Italy), Alex Di Stefano, etc etc etc.

As of 2016, with a staggering 1129 documented and released mixes, So Get Up is considered “The Most Remixed Vocal Acapella In Musical History” by the Guinness World Records.

“So Get Up” © 1993 Ithaka Darin Pappas
Published by Ravenshark Music/Scion Four Music (NY)/ASCAP

Songwriter Ithaka Darin Pappas holds Guinness World Record  For Most Remixed Vocal Acapella (song: “So Get Up”)

Songwriter Ithaka Darin Pappas holds Guinness World Record For Most Remixed Vocal Acapella (song: “So Get Up”)

In 2016, with at least 1029 documented remixes to its credit
“So Get Up” a vocal spoken-word poem written and recorded by
Californian artist and songwriter Ithaka (Ithaka Darin Pappas)
was the Guinness World Record holder for
“Most Musical Remixes Created From Single Acapella”

Ithaka initially penned “So Get Up”,
(first titled, The End Of The Earth Is Upon Us)
in mid-1993 for a daily segment of a program he regularly hosted
on Rádio Comerical Lisbon called “Bairro Quatro”.
It was recited the first time live on-air
just an hour or two after it was written.

In 1994, also in Portugal, he re-recorded it with
a house music duo called Underground Sound Of Lisbon.
It was distributed nationally and later on Tribal Records (NY)
with an a capella version, incredulously without a vocal credit.

It is this a capella that has been remixed, robbed, sampled, remade
and covered to a degree unseen in the history of modern music.

In 2016, at last count there were 1029 released remixes
of the vocal “So Get Up” (often under different titles such as;
The End Of The Earth, Get Up Go Insane, Forget The Past, etc).
Guinness World Record now recognizes the SO Get Up vocal poem
as holding the title for “Most Musical Remixes Created From Single A Capella”
bypassing #2, Turkish pop-vocalist Evrim Tuzun, by more than 800 mixes.

Because the first release of So Get Up was not vocally credited,
this seemed to green-light all other remix users
of the acapella to not credit it as well (most producers
thought the vocal and lyrics were public domain, perhaps from an old film).

Although some mixes were legally licensed,
many EDM artists simply made their own electronic music tracks
and place Ithaka’s vocals and lyrics on top of it,
and called it entirely their own without requesting permission
or paying royalties.

Among the more known mixes of “So Get Up” there are versions by such all-star groups/producers as; Cosmic Gate (Germany), Danny Tenaglia (USA), Junior Vazquez (USA), DJ Vibe (Portugal), Mert Yücel (Turkey), Eric Kupper (USA), Fatboy Slim (UK) and Miss Kittin (France).

An incomplete list of DJ/producers who have remixed, reworked, covered or sampled the vocal poem “So Get Up” by Ithaka Darin Pappas since its first recording in 1993 include: Cosmic Gate (Germany), Danny Tenaglia (USA), Junior Vazquez (USA), DJ Vibe (Portugal), Mert Yücel (Turkey), Eric Kupper (USA), Fatboy Slim (UK) and Miss Kittin (France), Pelarli, Alex Di Stefano, Public Domain (Holland), Pagano (Italy), Mirabeau (UK), Damaged People (UK), Mowree (Italy), Stretch & Verne (UK), Sarasite, Orion’s Voice, Bob Ray & Van Dyuk, Igor Carmo, JJ Mullor, Dani Sber, Swing Kings, Atlantis IT, Ben Gold, Nixu Zsun (France), Ricardo Diaz, Peter Bailey (USA), DJ Kingsize, FuturePlays (Mexico), Derek Marin, Oxia (France), Domino, DJ Diego Mendonça, Mauro Ferno, Maik Ibane, Ce Ce Lee (Italy), Dj Kryst-Off Aka Zornéus (France), FRANKYEFFE (Italy), Branko & Club Atlas (members of Buraka Som Sistema), Alex Page (Portugal), Nell Silva (Portugal), Alex Farolfi, Fargetta, GianLuca Mens, The Ventura 87, Dimas Carbajo, Christo Z (Greece), Ronni King,Terry Lee Brown JR., DJ Theo V (Greece), Djz Rom (Cambodia), DJ Beg, Lexicon Avenue, DJ Screw (Thailand) etc etc.

Labels that have released “So Get Up” mixes include: Tribal (USA-UK), Twisted (USA-UK), Forensic, Kaos (Portugal), Plastic City, Bosphorus Underground Recording (Turkey)