Some of it works, some of it does not. I still think it was worth persevering with, even if the outcome is less than I’d hoped for. I still like the contrast of the cinematic opening and the cheesy pop tune.
No idea is original, we stand on the shoulder of giants and we steal and plunder from those before us.
This was going to be longer, but I’m out of time – I gotta rush.
I found the samples from the original Tessio, you know the one with the huge intro? Rather than just point you to where they came from I thought I would piss everyone off my loading them up in the MPC and making a house mashup like it’s still 1999. Then I discovered that I really liked it, so I’m going to do something else with it. It’s like a fever dream of the original.
It’s rough as a badger’s arse at the moment, but I thought it would be cool to hear what I was working with. I’ll have a much more polished version soon, but not till after Xmas.
Have a listen to the demo/proof of concept.
Hey you! Do you want to read an uneducated opinion on a throwaway piece of music? Do you want to read a shoddily written article riddled with grammar and spelling* mistakes? Of course you do! Here it is.
So there I was listening the radio as I drove back from the airport (a regional programme, of course!) when I heard this funky little tune. It’s nothing more than a soul loop and some drums, but it had a cool vibe. I thought “hey, Imma get me summa dat sheeeit”. So I did, and here we are.
The record in question (lol) is “Question” buy KH, or Kieran Hebden, were more acquainted. So I got it home, slapped it on the turntable and enjoyed it a little bit. A little bit less than I was expecting to unfortunately.
You see, every time I listen to it I get a bit of a sinking feeling. A hollow feeling right in the pit of my stomach. A little voice in my head whispers “this isn’t good, mate” and “what’s this fucking shite, mate”. My inner monologue has a heavy Scottish accent, and as such is quite succinct and to the point. There’s just no messing with that cunt.
You see, for as much as I like “Question” by KH, I know it’s not a good record. In actual fact, it’s exactly the type of record I fucking hate. It takes a lovely, interesting loop from an old house track and puts some heavier drums underneath it (see: “Final Credits” by Midland). That’s it. Really, its about ten minute work and is woefully uninspired.
KH didn’t write that cool little bassline, he didn’t write the vocals. He didn’t play those drums or orchestrate anything. He didn’t sing. KH was listening to some records, liked and section from one very much and said “Hey, I’ll put my name on that”. And that’s as far as it went.
Then it was played on the radio and a load of fucking IDIOTS (myself included) ran out and bought it. There was no thought process from the artist or the public. The exchanged when as so:
KH: Here’s this shit piece of music I put together this weekend.
Me: Fuck me, I’ll buy that!
Worse still, there’s a bunch of fucking weasel-fucks trying to flip it on Discogs.com for silly amounts of money. THE RECORD IS STILL IN SHOPS AND IS NOT FROM A LIMITED RUN. And even if it was, it’s fucking bullshit boring house music.
I am annoyed. This is killing my vibe.
So what am I going to do? I don’t know. I’ve depressed myself for the first time in a while here. I am genuinely disappointed that I was duped into buying such a thing when I’d be better off listening to the original sampled records. I mean, fuck, the new drums aren’t even interesting…
Well, in order to stop people paying inordinate amount of money for this below average record, here’s a copy. Listen with disappointment all of you fuckranauts…
All spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are intentional and for the sake of satire. Remember when we could just tell a joke because it was funny? Well now that’s ‘satire’.
I’ve not posted a review for a while – and long may that trend continue. However I was listening to some records tonight, and I remembered how much I liked this old house tune.
I don’t know too much about Mr. Josh Brent, other than he know calls himself Schatrax and releases cool house music.
Listen to these cool old tunes.
It’s electronic music with no compression. You heard me, zero compression.
What a week this has been – David Bowie released the incredible “Blackstar” album, Kanye West dropped a teaser for the upcoming Swish album, and Panasonic have confirmed that the iconic Technics SL-1200 will return to production. So I think I’ll write about an old house record that was released sometime in 1997.
Olav Basoski has been a prolific producer and remixer of not ‘quite commercial’ house music for three decades now. Although the quality of his output isn’t always guaranteed, there’s usually something worth a listen to. Having acquired all fourteen volumes of his Samplitude EPs, I guess I need to tell myself that.
I purchased this because it was a record by a man called “Basoski”, titled Moscow Street Rock, and adorned with the communist hammer and sickle. That may not seem much now, but when it was sitting in a record shop in rainy Glasgow in the late 90s, it looked like it came from another world.
As I previously said, the record features three tracks, all mixes by Basoski himself, no guests or label mates. “Half The Bet”, “Mo Fun Mix”, and “Super Funky Animal Mix” – all variations on a theme, and genuine remixes of the initial concept not the cutting room floor remixes we’ve become accustomed to in the past two decades.
Half The Bet mix is the most straightforward of the three. A busy, tough sounding piece of house music. Heavy, fast kicks drive forward with thick metallic snares and frantic percussion. There’s a loud reverb laden drum roll that rings out at every break. The mix clearly gets its name from the filtered vocal snippet that continually tries to emerge from the background. The deep “Moscow… ROCK!” motif is heard in the first few bars here and is used to great effect when layered over the previously mentioned vocal. It’s chopped and teased throughout the whole track. A very short, extremely heavily filtered loop pops in and out, pinned down by a deep synth bass and over laid by filtered minor synth sweeps that could be taken from a track fifteen years younger. It fucking kicks ass.
The horribly titled Mo Fun Mix is really unusual for a release like this. It starts off very similar to the other mixes, with the same drums and patterns – but it never builds. It’s clearly emptier. It chugs and stutters, ebbs and flows. The drums slowly disintegrating and giving way to (wait for it) a saxophone solo. A long ass, fucking saxophone solo. Ace. A long funky saxophone jams, subtly cut and looped, synth bass pulses away beneath the muted chord stabs. It’s sporadically punctuated by a drum roll that disappears into reverbed emptiness. Olav teases beats for minutes, threatening to disturb the space of the piece, only to pull them away at the last-minute. The saxophone continues, unfazed. After three minutes, rhythms finally drop and the “Moscow” motif returns. What a tune!
The Super Funky Animal mix is something a little different again. Coming in at only five minutes eleven seconds, it’s almost a full minute shorter than any of the other mixes, but it’s utterly jammed with little edits and variations. There’s more focus on the individual elements here, and the filtered vocal is a little tighter. If I was even more of a pretentious dick head I’d be tempted to call it one of the first examples of minimal house. Luckily I’m not. The synth chords (which just sound great here) take centre stage, and are filtered and delayed a little more than any other track. The main vocal creeps in and the kick drum slams relentlessly, only ever dropping in order to introduce another element. The main break has the percussion dip and a massively delayed minor chord. It’s just magic shit.
Listening to the whole thing leaves me quite in awe. Everything is wonderfully original, yet hard as fuck. There is no denying that this is one of the best house records of the 90s, and it’s aged incredibly well. It blows my mind to thing something this detailed and tight was made entirely on hardware – an Atari STe if I remember correctly.
I need more of these, more hammer and sickle, hard as nails, funky as fuck house music.
Moscow Street Rock was released on Work Records “Work32” in 1997, and should be in the collection of anyone remotely interested in electronic music.
Olav Basoski “Moscow Street Rock (Half The Bet)”
Olav Basoski “Moscow Street Rock (Mo Fun Mix)”
Olav Basoski “Moscow Street Rock (Super Funky Animal Mix)”
In reference to an older post (Bob Marley Sun Is Shining Controversy) which was viewed by around 11 people, I thought I would fragment and reduce my audience even more by continuing to delve further into non-issues that only interest me.
Browsing iTunes because I’m bored shitless and it’s a long weekend, and because I don’t really understand iTunes (as a man with 200 LPs and 200GiB of flac files, it’s not terribly useful to me). However, because I’m on a big Bandcamp tip (check it) I thought I would dip my toe in. You know, checking for bonus tracks, iTunes exclusive stuff etc.
What do i find? Another fucking weird, possibly unlicensed, Sun Is Shining Remix.
What’s so strange about this one? Well, it’s a near perfect facsimile of the original Funkstar De Luxe radio edit. It even appears to be an official Edel release on iTunes, but I can’t see how. It’s the same arrangement as the original radio edit but the drums are different, the keys are different, the synth chords are different (and too resonant), and the vocal take is shocking horrible. It sounds like record label either could no longer use the rights to the original mix, or lost the original take. But in that case, why couldn’t they just use a pre mastered take from a CD? Or make an entirely different mix?
This blows my mind. It’s bloody awful.
The mix is all wrong, it’s amateurish, at best. The guitar is in the wrong key and makes me want to tear my ears out. The vocal sounds like a drunk karaoke effort and is plagued with sibilance and other artefacts. I’m not even sure it is Bob Marley, but if it’s not, why didn’t they use a different take? Or totally re-record? The drums, oh man, the drums. Great composition, dreadful execution. They sounds like someone browsing a sample CD from 2000 and work as a great example of “how not to use a compressor and EQ).
Compare for yourself:
Bob Marley vs. Funkstar De Luxe – Sun Is Shining (Radio De Luxe Edit)
Bob Marley vs. Funkstar De Luxe – Sun Is Shining (Weird Fucking iTunes Mix)
I’ve said it before, but why? Why does this exist? Who said “We need another mix of this, just like the original, only worse in every conceivable way”. Why?!
When will this madness end? Will I be finding different mixes of this fucking song my whole life? Is that it, is that my purpose? At least now, I’m sure there can’t be any more. This is it, the last of the shit, as bad as it gets…
It’s at this point I realise two things. I don’t like Bob Marley. I don’t like Funkstar De Luxe.
It’s been a long time since I posted something to this blog. You can attribute that to my growing disinterest in being “on” the computer, the amount of travel that’s plagued my lifestyle the past year, or the fact that my extraordinarily expensive sound card fucked up for two and a half months. So needless to say as my favourite hobby was put on the back burner, this blog suffered the fallout – no new music, no new whiny half-baked reviews.
Then VD dropped a new record (Ripatti “Ripatti01“) so I sorted my shit out, quick snap.
Why? Well here’s the deal, the dealio, the Nancy Dell’Olio (I fucking invented that – just like that too, no fucking planning, no ghost writers nor fuck all). Wait, hold on, side tracked. Breathe… So I’m going to continue to talk about some stupid fuckin’ records here that no cunt has heard of before, and continue to drive people away from my already on the fringes blog. And I’m going to be using tonnes of commas, because I love them – they’re like little fullstops that you can put fucking anywhere you like.
Anyway, right, I’m cool, I’m cool. No, I’m cool. Ignore that previous paragraph.
It’s been thirteen years since there was a new VD pseudonym – not counting the collaboration, I think Uusitalo is the newest. So it was with heavy anticipation I awaited his latest incarnation. To be entirely transparent, I need to preface this review with the admission that I find interest in everything produced by Mr. Delay. Even the unlistenable early Sistol album (who listens to music anyway? How horribly passé) or the confused and messy “Love Glove” CD. I’m also more interested in what’s been invested in the making of the music than the final outcome – the reflection of the musician in the music is much more interesting than all other aspects to me. It’s what elevates music to art, and what differentiates good from bad – even in seemingly superficial electronic music.
Ripatti is both a new label and new “character” in the VD repertoire. The label is distributed exclusively through the Boomkat.com web shop and will be putting out limited runs (around 500 pre release, I think). It’s supposedly a snapshot of what is being produced in the studio, and will more than likely house pieces that are not viable as parts of albums or other projects.
Ripatti the artist is a bit more interesting to me. It’s the first occasion in which Vladislav Delay is using (almost) his real name. Or at least I think it’s his real name – at this point it’s quite difficult to tell. Maybe he’s grown to be more comfortable in his own skin, maybe he’s gained the confidence in his productions he no longer needs an alias, or maybe he just made some music and slapped his name on it. We’ll never know, but I’m guessing VD doesn’t do things without thoroughly considering the implication. What I can tell you is that this single production released under the Ripatti moniker bears little to no resemblance to any of his previous incarnations, and I have the feeling that it’s the record he’s been desperate to release for some time.
Ripatti “Ripatti01” contains two tracks, “#39” and “#24” – seemingly from the Mark Fell school of naming.
The a-side is a stop/start, medium tempo tech house thing. It’s choppy, glistening and really is the sort of thing I love. I think it’s aimed at replicating 2-step garage with a contemporary twist, but really it works better as a modern take on late 90’s dutch house music. It’s a fun track, and possibly the most accessible piece of music I’ve heard Delay produce, but it never crosses the line into frivolous or juvenile. He knows how to show a great deal of restraint, even when wringing the neck of his new studio.
Finely chopped samples are draped over deep analogue toms and kicks. It’s a very rhythmic record, very controlled. Gone is a lot of the syncopation and dubby depths associated with his most popular productions, and it’s all been replaced with tireless shifting of samples and insane patterns. Only once does the twelve minute track break down to expose it’s Vladislav Delay centered core – long attack, reverb laden minor chord progressions. It’s Delay, but pressed through a mesh screen of contemporary genre traditions. Very cool stuff.
The b-side is very different. It’s a frenzy of fast snappy drums, shuffling rhythms, 80s finger snaps and single note basslines. Its been called drum and bass by a few critics, but that doesn’t sit well with me. Its more chaotic than that (plus if its not an Amen Brother sample, its not drum and bass). This is a record that doesn’t fit with the canon of the rest of his material, gone is the control and self control – but that’s no bad thing.
It’s all glued together with a mulchy, mangled, unintelligible backdrop of noise. Sampled and twisted. I think V has been listening to Underworld’s “Second Toughest In The Infants” – and if he hasn’t, he really should.
It’s a lovely unexpected surprise, and one that makes me very interested in what’s to come next.
You can buy the record right now (if its not sold out) from Boomkat.com, and if you’ve got access to a reasonable turntable, you definitely should check it out. And for god’s sake, don’t leak it on the internet and ruin everyone’s fun.
And I know this aspect doesn’t matter to a lot of people but… The pressing and the mastering of the record are both excellent. Clean and deep, with lots of range and clarity. I watched a lot of interviews and public talks with the mastering engineer Matt Colton – and he said a lot of stuff I profoundly disagree with. Lots of examples of boring music and lots of talk about high resolution being smoother and clearer. Snake oil in my opinion, however I have to admit his work seems spot on. It’s difficult to master modern dance music, but this is an excellent example of how it should be done. Well done Matt!
Now about this weird HDD toy you’ve bought, what are your plans with that Mr. Delay?
Ah was pure lukin’ on the internet fur heavy choons and that, then I mind I hud this crackin’ wee fucking track fae ages ago. Some mad cunt caud Glasgow Gangster Funk hud this pure wee magic choon own Southern Fried Records. It wasnae like pure magic and that, but it was pretty sound man.
Noo whit’s fucking mad is that nae cunt remembers this choon, and nae cunt even kens who he is. But that’s whit I’m aw aboot, know what I’m sayin’? Suh yur own tae plumbs if ye think I cun tell ye anyhin mair aboot the cunt. In fact, I dinnae even ken if he’s fuckin’ fae Glesca.
So what’s the score wi this wan then, en is it any good at aw? Well aye man, it’s not too rough at aw. It’s like a mair manky Dj Sneak or sumhin’ like that. Like fucking Olav Basoski back in the day, but fae the toon (mibbey).
Ye cun fucking hear this bein’ played oot in aw the auld clubs, but the mad hing is that I don’t think any cunt did.
Fuckin’… nine tracks or sumhin’ own the disc, which isnae bad considerin’ I only paid oot a couple o’ notes. They’re aw pretty similar, pure heavy samples and dead basic synths (like the cunt cannae fucking play en he’s jus’ writtin’ the maste basic shit he cun tae go down wi the samples). But that’s no aw bad cus it sounds pretty clean, en I knaw I said there was hunners aw samples en that, but ye can tell that it’s aw pure auld gear he’s yased. Like it aw sounds as if it’s strugglin’ just to keep up – it must huv been a pure pain in the baws tae get this done back in the day. En ye ken whit? I appreciate it noo. I fucking appreciate the work that went intae building this wee record. This is somhin’ that’s fuckin’ pure oor the heids aw aw the Ableton “drag & drop” weans, aw pure writing pish dance music, know?
So, naw, it isnae a master piece by nae means but it’s no bad as awe curio, aw days gone by ye know? When you cud fucking walk doon the toon en drap intae a wee record shop and fuckin’ be like “awright mate” and he’s be aw “awright man”. Noo it’s aw fucking HMV and online pish. Even Rub-A-Dub is fully of Ableton USB shite noo. You just cannae buy the choons any mair.
Fuck it, catch ye man.
Broadly speaking, I’m not a fan of remixes nor the culture that built up around them. They’ve always been a cynical marketing ploy to try to get big name producers on marketable material, or a shallow disguise to push the latest generic pop trash into the clubs, neither of which interest me greatly.
But hey, I survived the “mash-up” craze of the late 90s, and I can survive this.
There’s currently three types of remix as far as I can tell. The first is possibly the worst, but certainly the most prevalent remix-type; “use an upcoming trendy producer to push my shit into the clubs and try to give it some credentials remix“. This generally consists entirely of stealing the hook and melody from a pop tune and pasting it over modern drum samples. That’s it really, it’s that primitive.
Clear examples of this are Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe Remixes”, featuring such gems as “Manhattan Clique Remix”, “10 Kings Vs Ollie Green Remix”, “Coyote Kisses Remix”. Producers so fresh and trendy, even I don’t know who they are. Each one of them is an example of approx. 10 minutes work in Ableton. The “Coyote Kisses Remix” isn’t even in the right fucking key… Disastrous.
The second remix type commonly found is “pay an extremely popular dj-type to remix my rubbish track, and hope his name brings customers remix“. Here a ‘big name’ producer receives a few thousand quid to remix something they’ve probably never heard. Olav Basoski, Jan Driver, FatBoy Slim, Basement Jaxx, Moby are all guilty of this… It’s their bread and butter. It’s how they pay the mortgage.
Lastly, we have the “oh shit, I forgot I was supposed to remix that remix“. This can occur in either of the two situations posted above, and results vary greatly. What seems to happen is the producer is so uninterested in remixing the material that they completely forget to do so. Panic then sets in as the deadline approaches, they can almost see the money leaving their bank account.
So what do they do? Send in an utterly unrelated work, of course! Good examples would be Pub’s “Summer (They Can’t See Us In The Dark) Delay Configuration 1”. 19 minutes of wobbling dub craziness, and one of the best pieces of music I own. Sadly, it’s not a remix of “Summer”, not in any sense of the word. It is magic though. Poor examples include Antipop Consortium’s “Volcano (Four Tet Remix)” or Underworld’s “Beautiful Burnout (Pig & Dan Remix)”. Irrelevant dance tracks, plopped on a disc in the hopes that the title will be enough to fool a listener.
As you can see, there’s really no middle ground in which good remixes occur frequently. We can quickly score off the first remix type, because trendy new producers do what trendy new producers do – produce trendy bullshit. The next two types are somewhat less predictable, and this is where we can occasionally find some gems, albeit in a greatly diluted ratio.
What do I think makes a good remix? That’s a very good question.
There’s no formula, but good remix I think is something that enhances or reshapes what’s already there. It creates something new while respectfully adhering to some segments of the original material. There should be enough of a relationship to the original to make to connection, but done with a new slant. It doesn’t pander to an audience or particular market segment (yuk!). It doesn’t just enhance what’s there, it creates some new from it.
Now, after six-hundred odd words of rambling bullshit, we can get on point. What is the best remix of all time? I’ll bet at this point you’re expecting me to say something gruelling and pretentious like the afore mentioned Pub’s “Summer (They Can’t See Us In The Dark) Delay Configuration 1”. Well I’m not.
Instead I’m suggesting that the little known and commercial unsuccessful Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Two Tribes (Olav Basoski Tiberium Power Mix)” is the best remix of all time. That’s right, the man with over 100 ‘remixes-for-money’ to his name finally struck gold.
The entire original track is here, beautifully decomposed and broken down while a thick Olav beat, heavy with bongo accompaniment, drives the whole thing along. External tracks are beautifully filtered and scattered haphazardly, appearing and vanishing at will. Sirens scream, percussion is heavy and reverb laden. The track builds and escalates expertly – in nine and a half minutes, almost half is occupied by breaks, both large and small. It perfectly captures the mood of the original piece (even the gayness), and projects it into something modern and contemporary (well, for 1999 anyway).
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – “Two Tribes (Olav Basoski Tiberium Power Mix)” break snippet
It remains recognisable enough to hear the original, yet different enough to be a worth while listen. It’s larger than the original but more focused – albeit narrowly dance floor focused. It’s fresh, yet somewhat uninspired. It does something new via iteration not revelation. It’s everything a remix should be, right down to the flaws.
And there lies the problem of remixes. If it’s good enough to be an original production, shouldn’t it be one? And if it’s not good enough to be an original production, is there a need for it at all?
Remixes happen now predominantly because they are easy to do. You ship some samples off, someone loads then up in a DAW, a derivative track pops out. No one takes them seriously and no one should. It’s part of a culture that remains steadily content with taking credit for, and claiming self-expression through, others works. Have you ever looked on Facebook/MySpace/Bebo/Twitter/Google+ and been taken back by how many people express themselves through music they’ve never been involved with? Violently defend films they’ve only watched? Harp on about how one art form is better than another, even although they participate in neither?
This remix culture is a part of that, or maybe a product belonging to it. Few creators, lots of critics, and even more wannabes. Right now it’s easier to make music than it’s ever been. If you own a PC you now have the most complete and versatile studio humanity has ever seen. The possibilities for new creation are endless, yet what do we occupy ourselves with? Putting new rhythms under old tracks. Nostalgia driven footering. Longing for good results while putting in the least required efforts.
We got lazy and content, and this is only exacerbating the situation. I don’t like remixes, and you shouldn’t either.
Ok, I’ve changed my mind, the best remix ever is Pub’s ridiculously named “Summer (They Can’t See Us In The Dark) Delay Configuration 1”. Oh wait, I forgot about Armand Van Helden’s “Professional Widow” remixes! Shit. Look, I’ve fuckin’ written myself into a corner here.
Ah fuck it, I’ve written it now…
There are very few truths in this world, and even fewer of those can be considered universal truths. In fact, the only one I’m 100% sure everyone can agree on is that we all love Bob Marley vs. Funkstar De Luxe. You may not like house music, you may not know who Funkstar De Luxe is, Christ – you may not even like Bob Marley. But we all loved the summer of ’99 because it gave birth to “Sun Is Shining”.
I’m not really into Marley myself, but two things struck me about the track – the bass line and the chord progression. Both are welded to each other over a 4/4 kick, and both were executed in an immaculate manner. So much so, that it’s difficult for me to separate them in my head.
However, facing that fact that I’ll more than likely need to sell my little collection of synthesizers soon, I thought I would sit down and dissect these elements while I still had the tools and enthusiasm to do so. Needless to say, it’s all 4/4, 130BPM
First up, that lovely cascading chord progression.
Sun Is Shining Piano Chord Progression
Starting from an inverted E Minor 1st Inversion, G Major, A Major 2nd Inversion, C Major First Inversion. Quite an unusual progression, but really has a lot of feel, especially when strapped into a 4/4 rhythm.
I’ve created a quick facsimile of the original done on my Waldorf Microwave XT.
Sun Is Shining Synth Chord Progression
Next up, the bassline
Sun Is Shining Piano Bassline
I find the bassline to be especially interesting. On first listen you don’t think it would sit particularly well with the previous chord progression. But it do. It has a driving, almost dub feel that accents the tempo and rhythm very nicely. It speaks of sunshine but with a lowly demeanour.
Again, I created a quick facsimile of the original done on my Novation Super BassStation.
Sun Is Shining Synth Bassline
Now, using magic, we can combine the two into (indulge me here)…
Sun Is Shining Test Mix