Thinking Time

Sampled over and over it feels like I’ve been listening to various tiny slices of Lyn Collins Think for, well, the total time I’ve been listening to dance music.

Used by funk DJs, MCs, Drum And Base artists and the occasional narcissistic megalomaniac (that’s why we love him) it seems to have no equivalent. If you know of a sample that has been used more, let me know.

It’s hard to think of something more different from Think than Square Pusher’s Come On My Selector. Layered and anarchic, it’s coke and coffee with a video by Chris Cunningham to blow your little socks off. Listen hard, though; Think  is in there.

So let me type this for the first of many times:

Your art is boundless, is comes from the smallest of places and fills the largest of spaces. You can twist and manipulate anything.

Now, watch my favourite music video and use it to go create something.

That’s an order.

 

Reading 101

This blog is still new. It has no real direction or form. Also, this blog is bad. I mean, it’s bad like all of those bad writers blogs you’ve read. It’s bad in a ‘I’m-Not-Sure-What-I’m-Doing-But-Just-Bear-With-Me-Because-My-Thoughts-Are-PROFOUND-And-One-Day-When-I’m-Gone-You’ll-Realise-It-But-Hopefully-Before-Then.

Or INSWIDBJBWMBMTAPAODWIGYRIBHBT, for short.

It’s okay, though, because you’ve got to be rubbish at something before you can be good.

I’m going to show you some of the things that I think are great and show you some of the things I think should try harder. I’m also gonna start making videos for your eyeholes. They’re gonna be great, I know it.

At the moment, they are not great. So watch and get the laughs in early.

My first pick is an excerpt from Dave Eggers’ short story After I Was Thrown In The River And Before I Drowned. There are free, ripped versions of this story online which you can find easily. My request to you is do the man a solid and buy the collection.

 

 

Pressure Cooker

Im afraid I can’t tell you much about Beardyman. His intentions and methods aren’t really my concern. ‘Kitchen Diaries’ or ‘Beatbox Chef’ as I came to know it, though, has been a main line source of inspiration and support.

His recipe is simple: Get some good, personal ingredients, mix them together and practise them for years. What he taught me is this;

Keep Going,

Keep Going,

Keep Going.

I’ve reproduced the recipe; the video is below.

Electro-FunkDaddy Superstar Break.

Ingredients:

  • 1 808 Clap
  • 1 Dry Snare
  • 1 909 Clap Snare
  • 1 Kick
  • 1 Base
  • Mixed Synths
  • 1 Shuffle (Household White Noise)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 700°F

Filter the white noise using a sieve. You want to reach a point where all of the middle frequencies are left behind. You should end up with a more tinny sound within a rhythmic consistency. You can test the rhythm by giving the white noise a spin.

Spin the White Noise and add the remaining ingredients in order: 808 Clap, Dry Snare, 909 Clap Snare, Kick, Base, and the Mixed Synths. Be careful of stray hairs, and you should, at this stage, have a the beginnings of a great break.

Please note that some recipes will encourage you to add fish at this stage. Don’t do it.

Place the base break into an oven proof dish and bake for three years at 700°F.

Remove from oven and enjoy with friends until you can’t stand.

 

Worn Words

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The origins of the term Folk Music are based in the snobbery of a Victorian antiques enthusiast. Folklore, wrote William Thoms (are) ‘the traditions, customs, and superstitions of the uncultured classes’.

The term as it’s used today seems to assume some deep mystical past but in fact refers only to the music that was unclassified before people like William Thoms came along to look down upon it.

For me, the term applies to any song that tells a narrative. If the song tells me a story with a beginning, middle and end then it’s someone’s tale, a Folk Tale.

Alt-J’s song 3WW (Three Worn Words) sets out an opening with no words. For the first thirty seconds or so it seems like a backing track or interlude, then things change. A rolling guitar enters and you realise that you’ve heard the start up sequence of something more. The first lyrics are sung in a way that we all know is the sound of Folk proper. As the story develops the vocalist seems less sure of himself. We’re treated to a sudden crescendo, another verse and then another person’s POV.

At five minutes long Alt-J are asking quite a lot of radio programmers with a short eye on big audiences with small attention spans. As a story, though, as a piece, it’s perfect.

You’re Fired.

Mad Men ran for seven seasons and featured ambiguous übermensch drinking their way through the day while making brilliant quips and wrestling with daily existential-class hangovers. Let’s call it late capitalism in short trousers.

Suffice to say, it would be impossible for me to overstate how much I love it. Full of brilliant observation and unsaid, unscripted narrative stubs it lets you do the work, but doesn’t demand anything of you. I have no idea how Matthew Wiener did it.

Typical of the Mad Men ethos are men and women who don’t always say the right thing, but always say it well. Quite apart from the lead character, Don Draper, episodes are mostly stolen by the dry, wry wit of Roger Sterling. You can find at least one good reel of his ‘wisdom’ on Youtube. For now, let’s just have his take on sacking an unpopular employee.