Oddly named 52nd and 2nd, happens to be the 52nd track produced by me. I used to live on 56th Street in Manhattan (right near Second Avenue) and would occasionally walk down 52nd Street on my way to the subway. What does all that have to do with this track? Absolutely nothing. But both of those things have the number 52 in them and since I don’t like to spend more than 5 seconds coming up with a title, that became it.
The track is a pounding techno ride with a stabby riff and scattered kick twists which give it unique character.
Power Trip is a wild tech-trance track from 2001. Its got a weird mix of percussion and beats, vocal samples, a creamy synth bassline and a demented main riff that would earn it the name Ridiculist if only that title hadn’t already been used on a track even more ridiculous. The main synth sounds were again generated by the Virus and Nord Lead keyboards, with the latter taking the blame for the main riff which I really enjoyed tweaking in real-time. A few high velocity samples are flying around and hitting things in the background, making this track a bit over-produced but at the same time giving it a unique vibe.
A bit of interesting info regarding this track… It was featured on the soundtrack of a short film Room by Aleksandar Kostic, and subsequently heard on various film festivals.
A couple of months ago I posted the track Goliath (part 1) which featured a sample from the movie Event Horizon. As promised back then, here’s the sequel, cleverly dubbed Goliath (part 2). Out is the Fishburne sample and in the tribal beats with a dirty bassline. Check it out.
Btw, while this version has no ties to the movie I’m including the photo because, well… because its a really f-ing cool photo. Enjoy.
I’m being perfectly honest when I tell you that I don’t remember when this track was produced or even that it was. I came across it on an old CD of my productions and it was (and remains) unmarked. So here it is, a rareuntitled track and I must say that I don’t dislike it. Its a raw track that sort of resembles Clusterfuck and Fake House, both of which were featured here recently.
Far Off Course is a weird, crossover track from 2001. It starts out with some broken beats and then morphs into a smooth driving adventure.
The focus throughout is on percussion (at the time I came across some weird tube sounding samples that resemble something from the Blue Man Group soundtrack, and I used them when arranging the drums on this track), aside from which the only melodic passages are creamy stabs and evolving pads which emerge half way into the track and drive it to the end.
While the track is not easy to categorize and fit into a concise set I always liked it and am happy to present it here. Enjoy.
Steady Tremor is a relatively recent track (given my studio drought of the last few years). It was produced in January of 2005, a time of year (fall/winter) when I am generally most productive in the studio. (I not a fan of sitting in a studio during the hot summer, and air-conditioners tend to interfere with the sound/air flow).
Anyhow, the track has a nice tribalesque groove and a choppy synth line bouncing over it. It also has a sibling, a jam titled The Ploy, which is a different idea dropped over the same beats. We’ll cover that one later, but for now, catch the tremor.
New Predicament is a smooth acid flavored track from 2001. While a straight forward track, it does have a breaky West Coast feel which makes it fun to play. Aside from the percussion and airy samples, most of the sounds were produced by the mighty Virus synth, some sampled and morphed further in the DAW, others recorded straight from the box and tweaked in real-time.
Listening to it after all these years I decided to slow it down a bit as the original was too fast by today’s standards. So I brought it down to 135bpm, and actually prefer it at this rate.
Once again, the wav download is available and recommended.
If you are familiar with the track Hide And Seek, you know that its a voice-only track, vocoded and layered to perfection by the one and only Imogen Heap. This little missy just released her new album Ellipse and while I’m still trying to get into it, I remembered that a while ago I tried dropping some beats on Hide And Seek to see how that would sound. I quickly realized that the tempo of the track is very free-form and unless I busted out a real drumset and mics, getting this to work in a digital domain was going to require some heavy time adjustments.
Enter Ableton Live‘s sick Warp feature. (Time) warp works automatically by assessing the nature of the track and figuring out where stuff fits on its timeline as well as whether it should create a loop or sections that it attempts to play quantized (in time). It does a decent job but usually requires manual adjustments even for very straight-forward and repetitive dance tracks. But as expected, it had no idea how to deal with Imogen Heap’s beat-less jam. After manually tweaking words into time for a while without totally ruining the the vibe of the song, I dropped a few drum hits under it. (Admittedly, the first few verses could use further adjustments, but I got lazy.) The plan was to add other orchestration but that never happened (well, not yet). So I’m posting this here for you to listen to, drop in your editor and mess with further, or whatever. The BPM is 120.
I hope I don’t get in trouble with IH’s label or the miss directly. It might be wise to pull this one off asap since it may not last long.
Look for the updated remix at some point in the future, but for now here’s the first draft tagged as in progress.
In the short list of my most favorite techno labels has to be Luxus, a short lived German imprint known for intelligent arrangements built on crispy, groovy beats and superbly put together. A few records by Plasmatics and Lower Level released on this label were frequently heard in my mixes, as well as of other New York based techno DJs including my boys DJ Eleven and Preston Space.
I bring up this label here since its sound, and the sound of Plasmatics and Lower Level in particular, was the inspiration for the track Decoy, available for download here. Decoy is another personal favorite – a raw, loopy track with a tribal feel and a thick revolving bass laid over polished drum sounds. The bass was (once again) played through the Virus B synth and processed with the RNC 1773 compressor. The sound is deep enough to sit alongside the kick drum even without side-chaining and ducking, though this technique could have perhaps given the track more of a pump. But it rolls nicely without it and the spotlight is on the sounds in the top end, of which the core is the highly compressed clap. I used this sample on a few tracks and, if I remember correctly, it came from a Luxus record! Aside from the percussion samples, present are a couple of other classic Techno elements – the TR909 snare drum and ride cymbal.
Fake House is a rare house track of the bunch. It sort of caught me by surprise and took all of about 4 hours to arrange. It has a very raw, sample-based vibe which makes it a fun track to play (and play with) in an early or late set.
The creamy bass line was played on the Nord Lead keyboard, and is joined by a reversed electric piano riff and a couple of other mangled samples. The main beat was summed and reversed in a couple of breaks to add to the odd feel.