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Holy shit this tape is filled with knives what the FUCK
- Push the Button: This idea of starting an album with raw hardstyle kicks was one that I’d had in my head for awhile, and eventually I realized this absurd, unspeakably loud plunderphonics album was the perfect place for it. After the intro a “proper” kick and snare come in, the hardstyle kicks gaining a subtle high pass filter and taking on a role more like hihats. Also there’s a transition into a triplet feel, but instead of the length of a beat being the same, the thing that’s carried over is the eighth note length of a hardstyle kick. That’s great and all, but the real most important thing about this track is the sentence mixing in the second half.
- Supreme: The first full track on the album. It kinda does the same thing as “Push the Button” in how it layers fast frenetic sliced beats with punchier but slower beats, but here it’s considerably more chaotic. But the center of attention is the sample chops of “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane. The process of putting these together was very off-the-cuff, kinda just rolling with the first thing that sounded good. Renoise (the DAW I use) is good with rapid sample manipulation so I think that helped me along a lot. Being an album from the 60’s, “A Love Supreme” is a bit overly excessive with the panning. I dealt with this by reducing the width as you’d expect, but also by having an additional layer of chops with the channels swapped.
- Speaking Clock: I dunno why this is here lol. I saw a speaking clock in a computer museum or something and I thought it sounded cool, so I found a video and threw a sample of it in as an interlude.
- My Organs: The first half of the album is supposed to be less melodic than the second, so doing an ambient section in this context was tricky. I ended up layering an organ part over itself at different pitches, which I think sounds sort of relaxing but in a way that’s impossible to follow. There’s a beat switch into something more intense, which I think I did mostly to preserve a sense of bravado.
- Headache: I set out to create the most nightmarish mashup I’d ever made, and I succeeded. Looking back, I can’t believe this track exists.
- Compliments: Just some fun, simple, nonsensical vocal chops. The sample is from this Ben Levin video. Originally I played this short scene in full after the chops, but then I realized the guest tracks were right after this interlude on the album and I didn’t want to accidentally send a weird message lol. Plus the strange, reflective vibe didn’t really fit this album at all.
- Halfshift Experimentation (by Cheryl Stelli): The first guest track. Lots of fun synth sample chops! I feel like I was asking Cheryl to play against type with this track, but she delivered something great here.
- Square Theory (by mothbeanie): The second guest track. Just as good as “Halfshift Experimentation”. It’s interesting to hear the subtle difference between how these two have chosen to structure their rhythms. These tracks also serve as a nice transition into more melodic material which the album really needed.
- Clap Twice: I consider this to be the last track of “Side A”, I guess. It’s basically just a STOMP live performance with some distortion and other percussion-heavy samples layered on top, but I spent a lot of time trying to get it all feeling just right. Even just synchronization is a lot of work with a live performance like this, and there’s a subtle progression in how the samples are used. I saw STOMP live as a kid, and it might even have been the same performance I found video of to sample!
- Deep Breath: “Side B” is more melodic than “Side A”, but “Clap Twice” and “Deep Breath” kinda break up the progression by having basically no melody at all. I hoped this would make the emergence of a strong hook in “Ultramarine Sun” more dramatic. This track is basically just a straightforward dark ambient interlude to give the listener a break, but it’s still all samples!
- Ultramarine Sun: We extend the melodyless segment a bit longer (by using a Merzbow track as percussion because sure why not at this point). But then the turn happens, as a looping sample of the chorus from “Tell Me What You Already Did” fades in and overtakes the track. Even though there’s a strong melody now, it’s still very uncompromisingly intense. This might be my favorite single moment on the album.
- First Contact: This was the one single I released for the album, though that was mostly because I had an idea for a music video; if that was no object, I probably would’ve released “Supreme” instead. The contrast between the straightforward samples and the harsh noise is pretty weird. The melodic samples weren’t actually in 5/4 but I sliced them to fit anyway.
- Channel Surfing 2: If you’ve ever wondered what this is a sequel to, it’s a mashup that Cheryl made. The very end samples this amazing YTP that basically inspired much of this album’s aesthetic and also most of my sense of humor.
- Remote Perception: The culmination of the “getting more melodic” progression, this track is very consonant and uplifting-sounding (while still being loud, punchy, and pretty abrasive). There’s not much to say about the production process here; the mix is complicated but everything flowed together pretty naturally.
- Get on the Bus: “Remote Perception” kinda rounds out the loose “concept” of the album, but it felt like a weird place to end things. I wanted something that hewed closer to the general attitude of the album, but that was still musically surprising. So here’s “Get on the Bus”, a loudmouthed hip hop beat that’s half comprised of meme samples. I’ve heard from different friends that this is both by far the best and by far the worst track on the album. My opinion is: Nicki Minaj’s verse on “Monster” is really good