Beat 113: Stars made of tin

I couldn’t put much into the last few, but I was able to spend more time on this one. I started out just trying to make a hi-hat/shaker part that sounded interesting, but I ended up making something I liked a lot.

Beat 83: There was a prince

My friend Jimo visited, and he brought his saxophone, so I recorded him playing over a beat I thought of about seven years ago but never made real. The beat is just electric piano, an accordion-like synth, and a pre-set drumkit with some built-in crackle. Before the beat drops in, I threw in another dash of record sample from my new collection.

Jimo also recited a rap he wrote over a decade ago, while working at an Applebee’s on the Jersey shore. I didn’t even know people were popping collars back then!

Beat 57: Motomarines

Dr. Roommate and I were lonely on saturday night, so we ended up rediscovering our Comcast On Demand channel. Most shows are free. In addition to the amazing experience of starting to watch House of 1000 corpses, only to see a preview for Midnight Meat Train, and realize we could just go back to the menu and switch to watching Midnight Meat Train, which turned out to be amazing in its own right, we also saw an amazing T-Pain video called Can’t Believe It. Check it out.

Some musician-types are annoyed at T-Pain’s astounding success because he has based his entire career on Auto-tune, some fancy processing which locks your singing into exact pitches and makes you sound like an awesome robot. But after watching that video, I’m convinced he’s a genius, who spends his time thinking of the most awfulsome lyrics and videos while his peers waste their time learning to sing and doing ab-work.

So today’s beat is a little tribute, using GarageBand’s sort-of auto-tune. I’m not a great singer, so it still took me a few tries to get it close enough that the computer knew what I wanted to sing, but… it’s still cool to morph into a cyborg with a razor-sharp ear. Props to Dominic from Portland for opening to my eyes to the benefits of including a triangle, and to Jefferson for helping me use song-flute synth with no shame.

Back to the important stuff… did you watch that video yet? What’s up with those dudes who are hiding in the ski-lodge? And that bear? Fuego? Let’s talk about youuuu! How crazy does Lil Wayne’s voice sound? These are all things that I want to hear discussed, but as you will notice if you follow the video link, the 17000 comments fall short of the depth I seek. So please, analyze away.

Beat 43: Thorn-apple

I thought I would try something different, so I used a dictaphone to record Dr. Roommate playing one of his songs on his Vintage Synthesizer. The low audio quality of the main sample is nice, and I like the way the other cleaner synth noises sound along with it when they drop in, though those first bleeps sound late. This seems like it could be a good one for the automobile.

Beat 40: Bogeydog slow

For this one, I looped some piano parts, and cut up and reversed a bunch of vocals from the same track. I set it up so the different singer’s notes were linked to the correct keys on my keyboard, and then had fun playing along. The timing in the middle section is off, but sometimes that’s how it is with bogeydogs.

I think this would be cutting-edge if prefuse73 hadn’t already done it much better five years ago.

Beat 33: Malducci’s

I heard some slide guitar on the radio, and it occurred to me that that’s where all the emotions kept are these days, in those slidey wails. I don’t have one of those slide finger covers, so I used a tiny red bottle of mezcal that has been sitting on our shelf for ages. I sequenced a beat to justify the whole thing, then I put it together with part of an interview I found on the web.

Beat 30: Tell them I came

Today I didn’t sequence anything, I just put together samples that I liked. I started with a bunch of strings as a background texture, then I added a slowed-down and down-pitched drumbeat. I found a trombone sample and a trumpet sample that I liked, and I changed the pitch so they matched the strings. I realized there still wasn’t any bass, so I found a different sample with bass and piano which seemed to fill things out. Finally, I added some cymbal crashes, and one drum-fill playing with pitch-shifting and panning.

I’m pretty excited about doing more like this one. It sounds very much like DJ Cam’s album Underground Vibes. At first I felt like I was ripping off his sound too much, but I was thinking about it some more, and I determined that I love that album so much that I wish there were five other similar albums. If I have to make them myself, so be it!

Beat 13: Aquafatigue

Something about the ticking clock noise from the accordion beat stayed lodged in
my head. It’s funny that certain sounds are as evocative as smells, like a train
whistle or the sound of rain on a roof. It turns out that there wasn’t even a
ticking clock in the accordion song- that and the tapping I heard were both just
mechanical noises from the original accordion sample (played by Daedelus). It
still seemed like a good sound to revisit, so I used it here, along with a
backwards electric piano. The kick drum begins with a whoosh of backwardsness,
and there’s a little synth puh-plink to drive home the despair.