Beat 112: Bass sampling!

I figured out how to make a bass sound from a single period of the sample, so I made an imitation of the beginning of the Erlend Oye song The Talk.

Beat 111: Wild on Bucharest

A few months ago I got obsessed with a remix of the Whitest Boys Alive song Golden Cage. I tried to make some of the synths, with limited success. I still don’t really know how to have the kick drum on every beat but still have a snare on 2 and 4 sound good. The explanations I’ve read about or heard make it sound like black magic.

Beat 109: Tastes like a brand new shirt

I started by trying to make the synth from the Junior Boys song Teach Me How to Fight. Then I lost my ambition to imitate other parts of the song and put some silly fast drums over it.

Beat 104: Happiness, Again

This is another attempt at imitating a Foreign Exchange song I really like. It still came out a thousand times less good than the original, but I learned a lot while trying to make it. The snare drum and kick drum are both made basically from scratch, which is something I haven’t done much before. I recorded the bass guitar and tried to get it to sound like the original, and it came out ok, but it sounds very out of tune on small speakers. What is that about?

Beat 77: Con benefici

I like Musiq Soulchild, but looking at a few of his biggest hits over the last eight years, I realize there is a certain consistency regarding subject matter:

1. Just Friends (“You ain’t even really got to be my girlfriend”)
2. B.U.D.D.Y. (“A buddy is a buddy that don’t be complainin when his or her buddy ain’t the buddy they came with”)
3. Forthenight (“Now I know I’m not your man… but let’s just act like it’s that way tonight”)

I made a cover of Forthenight for today’s beat, with some voiceover help from my non-doctor roommate. I think it was actually this song that got me really into that fuzzy/sawwy bass I love so much. You can check out the original version here. I wish the whole video were just him doing his low-key dancing in front of the black background.

Beat 64: That’ll be 60 bucks

First, a recap: Dr. Roommate and I got real into a T-pain video the other day, and I made a small autotune spoof.

Since then, a few important things have come to light. First and foremost, as an astute reader pointed out on the earlier post, there exists an even more awesome video by T-pain, called Chopped n Skrewed. My in-the-know friend Oko gave me the low-down: Chopped and Screwed is a Houston based hip-hop sub-genre that involves cutting songs up, slowing them down, and you know, chopping and screwing them. It’s like Hyphy but not as terrible. T-Pain’s song seems to simultaneously bring the C&S movement to the national stage, perfect it, and kill it, all in one sweet 60 bpm jam. The content of the first two verses is great.

Oko pointed out that T-pain seems to think the problems he’s describing are totally universal. Perhaps they are… have you ever been offically chopped n skrewed? Discuss.

On the technical side, most of my effort with this one went into trying to approximate the breathy synth with my new stuff. In the full version, the eight layers of thick T-painful auto-tune obscure most of what’s going on, but the beat is actually really cool- check out the instrumental to see what I was trying to copy. The notes were also tough to figure out on this one, but it helped that most of the things he’s doing are straight off of the Secret Gospel Keys DVD that Dr. Roommate bought. There was one part I couldn’t quite make sound right. If any keyboard-inclined readers want to help me out, it’s the descending chords 53 seconds into the beat.

I realize this has a lot of links, which makes me start to lose credibility. But if you want one more: some teenager made a T-pain parody which puts all others to shame.

Beat 55: Como cohetes

Today I was trying out my new computer’s synth brass, so I thought I would mock up some mexican hip-hop that I brought back from Oaxaca. Here is the original song, but you should probably skip it if you are offended by either objectification of women or cock-fighting, or women dressed up as roosters, fighting. If you want to learn a little spanish, feria means cash, and güey (wey) means dude, with some vulgarity. The first verse includes the following: “empezar hacer feria en manera de un rey, un juego muy avanzado, para un güey!”

The synth brass I used isn’t as good as a bunch of mexican güeys, but it still came out sounding nice. Next hundred beats I’ll do the rap.

Beat 52: Dawn light flickering through

I was sad when the Excellent Gentlemen left, so I decided to try to make the beat from a song of theirs that I love. Check out the real deal. They played it live at the Halloween show and it made me overjoyed and sad at the same time.

The drums are a kick drum, a hi-hat and crash cymbal, and a snare. The bass is a more mellow version of the saw I normally like, with a slow attack. The rhodes part is synth, not the real thing, cause I was too lazy to go out to the garage, and there’s also some synth organ in there. Since I can’t sing or play guitar like those dudes, I subbed in two trumpet parts for the guitar, and flute for the vocals. I’ve tried recording flute and trumpet for other beats, but I like how this came out much better. The one other part that comes in at the end is a synth Emoto-flute.

I don’t normally do personal shout-outs, but Mr. Girlfriend, remember that you deserve the best.

Beat 44: There’s a bump on the highway

This is a cover of Ridin’ High, by the Platinum Pied Pipers. It sounds quite a bit like the original, albeit a simplified karaoke version. Woo! I made it with my friend Jimo, and it was great to have his help, companionship. We spent most of our time getting the electric piano to not really decay, so it stayed loud, and to make the hi-hat and snare sounds.

Beat 38: From Memphis, Tennessee

I know everyone is always going on about the hip-hop from 1993, but I think the summer of 2003 was like some sort of golden era aftershock, which included this song. When I showed the video to my boo, she raised the legitimate objection that all she saw was a bunch of ridiculous girls dancing around, but I’m into the video because it’s Justin and the Neptunes playing the song in a bar. I like it when Pharrell shouts and looks to one side.

I was surprised at how much percussion there was in this track. My one broken tambourine didn’t really do the trick, so I used a lot of fake sounds, but it made me want to take the big step of investing in a shaker. I was sad that I ran out of time before I got to add the kick drum and snare, but that’s just how it is in the beatblogosphere. (Dammit, spellcheck, how you gonna underline that?)