I finished a couple of new mixes earlier this month, both featuring mostly new music here in 2011. March Madness is a bit edgier and more upbeat with tech house, techno and breaks. March deepness is a deeper house journey… still a bit techy, but deeper.
My AirDeck virtual theremin application was recently mentioned in Electronic Gaming Monthly and I was briefly quoted. Here is the excerpt from the article:
I am also posting a couple of photos that I sent to EGM to use in the article. EGM did not end up using them, but they are really great shots taken by my friend Omar Ramirez of Public Works Collective from my sit-down with them last year. Public Works Collective is a group putting together a film documentary chronicling the history of the Los Angeles electronic dance music scene. Here are the shots:
The following set of remixes was released last week on the Cold Busted, label including a remix by yours truly, which is my first officialy released remix. These are remixes of the Gramatik tune “A Bunch of Questions.” All feature funky, soulful interpretations of the original.
Interesting side note, my remix was featured on a Dutch radio show on station Radio 6. The blog with the podcast and track list can be found here.
Time is such a precious commodity, and this month I’m really spread thin, so blog posting will stay relatively dry. However, I am working on some interesting stuff.
1. I am taking a software engineering class and have been chosen as an assistant Project Manager. There is a team of 18 student developers as well as myself and the Project Manager. We are tasked with re-engineering a web-based software life cycle project management tool. The main goal of the re-engineering is to ensure that it conforms to the MVC (Model – View – Controller) standard. At this point we are redesigning the architecture of the database so that it is a truly normalized, relational database. We will be using a PHP framework called Yii so we can auto-generate the basic (CRUD) front end code and Yii is automatically an MVC compliant framework. What makes this project challenging is that we need it to be flexible enough to accomodate various software life cycles (e.g. Waterfall, Agile, iterative, etc.) and it also needs to be recursive so that multiple iterations of an entire project, or multiple iterations of just a subset of phases of a project can be reflected. So, basically I have a lot on my plate with just this stuff.
2. I’m also taking an Expository Writing class and am working on a Term Paper detailing research work done in the field of BCI (Brain Computer Interfaces), which is at least peripherally related to some of the content I usually post about on this blog. At some point I think it would be really interesting to work on a brainwave controlled or BioFeedback based music interface (as suggested by my music technology professor at Cal State). When I can find the time, of course.
3. My friend Steve, creator of the BeatSeqr, has kindly loaned me one of his BeatSeqr’s. And I am trying to document and demonstrate it working in a Windows environment.
4. I just wrapped up another Remix competition. I didn’t win, but I believe the tune represents my best effort to date in terms of overall production quality. Here’s the track:
I am in the process of trying to finish another remix piece by the end of the month, and of course, I will continue to work on remix competitions as there are some really interesting ones on my radar coming up.
5. I am still trying to flesh out my oldskool techno wiki…
So, got a pretty full plate at the moment… and that’s not even mentioning anything about my day job.
Ken Moore has been working on theremin emulation for some time now. He developed a Wii remote based theremin, and was quite helpful to me as I was developing my AirDeck project, which was also a Wii based theremin emulation application. Now Ken has done it again. This time, with the Kinect motion detection device that is used with the Xbox 360. Perhaps, if I can find the time, I can work on something similar with the PlayStation Move, which I have, and then we will have effectively converted all three motion based video game systems into theremins. Check this out:
My first post here in 2011 is a continuation of something I started late last year, which is a list of breakbeats commonly used in classic techno songs. Sorry for the delay, between the holidays and working on some music, this was the first opening I had to finish this. Hope the wait was worth it!
These last four breaks may not have been used as much as the first seven that were documented in part 1 and part 2, however they each deserve recognition in that they were used in several songs that were in heavy rotation during the golden era of oldskool techno. They are also all very distinguishable breaks; easy to spot once heard.
All girl 80s dance/R&B band Klymaxx brings us this funky break from their tune Good Love:
This loop was also used in a remix of Kariya – Let Me Love You For Tonight, but Klymaxx predates the Kariya track and so this is very likely the original source. This break is very distinctive and was featured in one of the most well-known techno classics of all time… Bombscare by 2 Bad Mice:
You can also hear this beat in DJ Phantasy and DJ Gemini – Never Try the Hippodrome:
As well as is in this rare, well sought white label by Schedule 3:
This version of Apache is actually a cover recorded by Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band, released in 1974 without much acclaim. In terms of hip hop and drum & bass, this epic break ranks up there with the Amen, the Funky Drummer and the Think break. I cannot mention this break without featuring this historic clip of Grandmaster Flash cutting up Apache on the wheels of steel:
Like many popular hip hop breaks, it also found its way into several popular techno and acid house songs. It is very easy to recognize due to the powerful reverbed congas. Here it is in The Break Boys (aka Frankie Bones and Tommy Musto) – And the Break Goes On:
As well as Panic – Voices Of Energy:
Listen to the little breakdown at (:57) of Todd Terry’s Just Wanna Dance. There is the Apache in all its glory.
This drumbreak is a hybrid creation of two other well-known breaks, with some additional flair such as a booming sub-bass and was featured in the song Run’s House off RUN DMC’s Tougher Than Leather album:
The two breaks in question include James’ Brown’s Funky Drummer, which rivals the Amen break in terms of overall usage in hip hop, drum & bass and techno tunes:
The second break is from the song Ashley’s Roach Clip by funk group Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers:
Ashley’s Roach Clip is yet another very recognizable and well known loop that has been used in countless hip hop and even mainstream songs, probably most famously in Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid In Full.
The Criminal Minds used the Run’s House break in the 1992 ragga techno hit Baptised By Dub:
It is also featured in Urban Shakedown’s Some Justice:
And again in Naz AKA Naz’s dark proto-jungle work Organized Crime:
Last but not least, there is this funky little break from the Isley Brother’s Get Into Something:
The break is somewhat similar to the Think breaks with the background voices, tambourine and snappy snares. We hear it on one of the very big tunes of the day, 4 Hero’s Mr. Kirk:
It can also be found on Nation 12’s Electrofear(unfortunately, no YouTube clip of this version of the song is available).
The breakbeat is, and continues to be, a powerful weapon in the arsenal of dance music producers worldwide. While these samples have powered the energy behind many hip hop, drum & bass and techno tracks, it is also important to recognize and acknowledge the incredible drummers who were the original sources of these loops. I believe it is also interesting and worthwhile to listen to these loops in the context of their original songs. There is a wonderful history that flows from these rhythmic interludes. Thanks for allowing me to share at least a little bit of this history with you. I also hope that this will broaden people’s musical tastes into some wonderful work that, while clearly stylistic departures from the tunes which sampled them, are incredible gems that deserve to be enjoyed in their original glory.
Before we dig deeper into the breakbeat vaults, first… a quick correction on Part 1. The break used in Isotonik – Different Strokes, Bass Construction – Dance With Power, Blow – Cutter (Acid Mix), Rabbit City #1 – Cutter Mix and Smart Systems’ The Tingler (State Side Swamp Mix), actually comes from a breakbeat loop record released by Warrior Records. Warrior released a series of loop compilations beginning in 1989, credited to The Original Unknown DJ’s. The break in question can be found on their 1991 Warrior Sampler E.P. I believe it is a modified Think break, but this Warrior Records series appears to be the source of this particular loop. You can hear it much more clearly in Quadrophonia’s The Man With the Master Plan:
Continuing on with our exploration of breaks used in classic techno tracks, here are four beats which were also featured frequently during the oldskool heyday between 1990 and 1992.
Let It Go (Part II) is a song by disco funk legends KC and the Sunshine Band. Their second, self-titled studio album, which is known for classic hits That’s The Way (I Like It), Get Down Tonight and Boogie Shoes closes out with Let It Go (Part II):
You can hear this break in the song Lock Up by Zero B:
The Beginning of the End is a band consisting of three brothers and a bassist hailing from Nassau, Bahamas. The 1971 track Funky Nassau (Part I) became a hit in the U.S. reaching #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and #7 on the Billboard Black Singles Chart. The tune also hit #31 on the UK Singles Chart in 1974. This particular break is literally a funk monstrosity which is easily spotted due to the clanging ride cymbals and booming kick drum.
DJ Mink’s Hey! Hey! Can You Relate? uses the the Let It Go break along with the Funky Nassau, as heard here:
This powerful break, which is pitched up for techno tempos, comes to us courtesy of soul icon Barry White from his 1973 single, I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby. The song is a great exemplification of Mr. White’s smooth vocal stylings. Amazing to think that such a rough break evolved from this mellow and shall we say “intimate” work.
Check out the I’m Gonna Love You Break as used by Rhythm Section in the 1992 classic Comin’ On Strong:
This break may be a bit more controversial. I did quite a bit of research and it appears as if Moby is the creator of this particular beat. If anyone can verify or correct this, it would be greatly appreciated. For now, it appears as if Moby, himself an immensely important member of the techno pantheon, deserves credit for crafting this incredible beat. Here it is in Moby’s Go!:
Moby and Jam & Spoon collaborated and remixed each other’s work, which may explain the use of the Go! break in Jam & Spoon’s immortal masterpiece Stella:
A more innovative use of the Go! break is exemplified here by Acen, who cut it up to great effect in their massive hit Close Your Eyes:
There are several more influential break loops put to dynamic effect during the oldskool era that we will look at in Part 3 to close out this discussion.