November 21, 2007 3:39 PM

A bit of electronic whimsy from way, way back.

I put this song together in ACID (I think) over five years ago, and somehow this copy of it has managed to survive multiple hard drive failures, system reinstalls, new computers, moving -- none of the original material remains, just this single rip of it. I thought I'd upload it here for posterity's sake. Something about it still makes me smile; maybe it's just the memories it evokes for me. I'd love to know what anyone else thinks. There are a few more that I'm considering uploading, but it's difficult for me to tell if they're actually enjoyable in general, or just enjoyable to me. Anyway, hopefully someone gets a kick out of it.

(At the very least I'd suggest listening through the whole thing. I really sort of threw the kitchen sink into this one.)

posted by spiderwire (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Kitchen sink is right, I like this muchly!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:16 PM on November 25, 2007

Thanks for pointing me here; this is pretty neat. Do you remember the source of the spoken word stuff?

Also, what's the process here -- are there any actual instruments, or is this an assemblage of samples, or what's the deal?

My favorite parts: when the dumbek (almost) solos at 1:23; the breakdown at 2:40ish; the drop-out and rebuild fom 3:45 on -- it sounds like sampled little girl vocals? What's going on there?; and the big drums coming back in at 4:16.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 7:47 PM on December 30, 2007

Oh man, I made this a long time ago, but let's see. Most of the song is samples from the old ACID website -- I wanted to see if I could make something interesting from them, since everything on the site sucked. I was just starting my Amon Tobin obsession, so this was sort of a first stab at creating a soundwall from simple noises. It's 90% samples, about 30-odd tracks (though most of the tracks have different samples in them -- I don't know what the end total was). There's some stuff that I did in MIDI or FruityLoops or what have you, but I ripped it to .wav before including it, so I don't remember what was what. Once I got all the initial sounds together I was just working with samples.

After that, I just spent a really, really long time (ah, undergrad) chopping and reversing and rearranging everything... mostly little stuff going on in the background, trying to make the 5 or 6 drum tracks sorta work together, etc. Most of the samples were tweaked to get the initial sound (getting the right pitch, timing, etc.), then tweaked more on a micro-level for each individual sample -- for example, the wah-wah guitar that's playing around 3:30 got a little piece chopped out, fuzzed a bit, and stuck in the background a few measures into the little-girl chorus (at 3:52). It's quiet, but that's maybe my favorite part of the song -- it seems very symmetrical to me. It happens again during the fadeout, which was a bit gratuitous -- not as subtle.

Every identifiable instrument is usually just a short sample, but chopped and rearranged and pitch-shifted to create something resembling melody. There are a few instruments that worked so well together that they got to share space, like the banjo/mandolin at the end. The electric mandolin / steel guitar / strings that starts around 2:05 is my other favorite part -- it's just three simple sounds tweaked around in various ways. I spent a lot of time changing the volume and effects and even little bits of waveform on almost every individual repetition of each sample, but it's hard to tell amidst all the chaos.

The "little girl vocals" are the backing for the chorus from a song that I can't recall, pitch-shifted upwards, I think. There's four different-but-similar versions that alternate in and out.

The spoken word stuff is from a song called "The Realm" that I've honestly never heard in the original. (Actually, I never thought about this, but the song may well just be sampling the spoken-word piece.) Awesomely, the acapella version I used is here. Cool! In my version, it's played in two tracks to create a false delay, since the original version already had some pretty extensive reverb.

That was fun to reminisce about. :) Thanks. I like that I can come back to this song even years later and get a kick out of it.
posted by spiderwire at 9:02 PM on December 30, 2007

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