Categories
hip-hop

Grandmaster Flash explains how he created the drum break

Grandmaster Flash

Drum beats only exist because one DJ, Grandmaster Flash, decided to get ‘scientific.’ In an interview with the Washington Post, the hip-hop pioneer recounts the inspiration and creation behind the drum break:

“My mother and my sister used to have house parties. What I noticed is the part [of the record] where there was a drum solo, the crowd would become more reactive at that point. I’m like oh wow — so why isn’t that most of the record? How can I take this 10-second part that I, personally, thought should be the whole entire record and — If I was speaking in 2016 — manually edit it and cut and paste it on time to the beat?”

To spin the record counterclockwise, Flash had to experiment with all facets of the turntable including the needle, rubber matting, experimenting with hardening some felt — materials that he stole from his mother who was a seamstress.

“I came from a scientific approach. Once I came up with the queuing, the proper needle, the “wafer,” duplicate copies of records, the mixer, which I had to rebuild, I was able to take a 10 second drumbeat and make it seamlessly 10 minutes.”

He then tested his own recorded vinyl albums on various turntables: Fisher Price, Magnavox, before landing on Technics which nailed the right record speed. Flash was doing all this at a time when even putting fingerprints on a record was “a major violation to vinyl.”

As soon as Flash had all the tools and identified the “the get down” or climax of the song, he was able to create drum loops in a process called the backspin technique or “quick-mix theory.” It wasn’t before long he teamed up with MCs to rhyme over the beats, thus laying the foundation for hip-hop.

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Categories
beats Music Video

MF DOOM x Madlib: Speaking through music

MF DOOM recaps his experience with producer Madlib when they recorded the epic [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788FT3QV” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Madvillainy[/easyazon_link] album 14 years ago.

“We spoke through the music. He’ll (Madlib) hear the joint and that’s like my conversation with him. And I’d hear a beat, and that’s like what he was saying to me.”

There are so many gems on the [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788FT3QV” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Madvillainy[/easyazon_link] album but if I had to choose one (re: a few):

Music as telepathy. Beats as [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788FT3QV” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Madvillainy[/easyazon_link]

Categories
beats

Oddisee – NNGE (feat. Toine)

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Image courtesy the artist

Beats, rhymes, and pieces. That’s what you’ll hear from prolific musician Oddisee, a native of the Diamond District. He’s back again with his third release in a dozen months with The Iceberg, an album that sees him grapple with the issues related to culture, race, and politics. The White House barred him from performing at Obama’s Farewell for his “controversial” lyrics on the track ‘Lifting Shadows.’

If the tune ‘NNGE’ is any indication, Oddisee is prepared to sharpen his words to meet these darker times.

“I grew up witnessing many protests come to Washington DC. This song continues that tradition by using words of encouragement over production inspired by the native sounds of DC music.” — Oddisee

Categories
Electronic jazz

The Peter Franks Group – Leaving This Place pt1

Image courtesy the artist

The Peter Franks Group is an instrumental and jazz beat collective from Bournemouth, England. The fresh and crisp flute-driven track ‘Leaving This Place’ is one of the standout tracks off the band’s album Days Past. ‘Inner Most’ is also a moody gem.

“…A real timeless feel to this courtesy of the joint talents of Halsall, Urquhart, Mwamba, Crennell, Maffei and Manners – but the real magic is in the dreamy keyboard work of Peter Franks and his inventive production techniques.”

Grab the LP on Bandcamp