I’ve gone quiet for a minute because I just had a son.Â This is a photo of little Archie a few minutes after being born 4:37 AM 02/06/09, looking at the world.Â He shares a birthday with Robert Nesta Marley and is an Aquarius.Â One of the interesting new questions of being a parent is trying to get a full nights sleep (impossible, but one tries).Â Being a musician, I’ve been doing some research on the internet about lullabys.Â My lady Karla has been reporting Archie’s reaction to my different songs as I work on them while he was still in utero (mainly punching and kicking when the bass would come on) and this got me thinking about trying to compose some music for baby.Â So I started by doing some research.Â Google threw up some interesting stuff, I had no idea that you could buy washing machine, vacuum cleaner and hair drier sounds on CD.Â I settled on this one, free via babysleepnoise.com.
Baby Sleep Noise Combined Mix (15 min version, also available in 60 minute mix)
To me it sounds like Rhythm and Sound, and yes, it is pretty peaceful to listen to.Â It sounds like it’s composed of a fetal heartbeat mixed with several different kinds of noise, including hair drier, car on freeway, and white noise.Â All of these can be found separately in files of different lengths, here.Â It seems to work, although not when he’s hungry.Â I wonder, is this why we like Rhythm and Sound so much?Â Because it sounds like a heartbeat with a hair drier or an electric fan mixed with some nice reggae chord stabs?Â Because it reminds us of our first 9 months breathing water and listening to our mother’s muffled heartbeat?Â I know that Moritz has kids so perhaps this is the secret to their success.Â Actually I am gonna go find my R+S CD to try on Archie tonight.Â More research is definitely needed.
There is a lot going on here – a world shrinking and expanding, traditional Yoruba ceremonial drums and chants being laced with spacious/spacey (digital?) synth-pads, you can feel the continents drifting closer and apart as the sounds unfold, combine, and mingle, the relationship between Africa and Europe in the 21st century.
I started listening to Rhythm & Sound and Basic Channel around 2004.Â They, Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, struck me as complex, disciplined, sophisticated musicians.Â In the video below from sometime late last year, Moritz answers questions, explains his/their history, economic philosophy, work ethic, etc., at length as the audience and the interviewer sip Red Bull and doze off, and vibe to the music.Â It’s great to hear/see him talk, but you have to brave the aggressive marketing overkill for Red Bull.Â I would like to read or watch an extensive interview with him conducted in a different environment, but this one is alright for now, I guess –it’s relaxed, and he appears to be comfortable.
As I listened to Moritz’s German accent, I thought about one of Rupture’s point in an interview with Plan B magazine – “the internet contributes to the spread of English-language hegemony.”Â I also thought about my African/Sierra Leonean accent, which is not very strong but it’s there –a constant reminder that I am speaking other peoples’ language rather than my own. What if the interview was done in German and translated or transcribed for English and other speakers? That would be too much trouble, an unnecessary struggle, right? Red Bull Music Academy is an annual international affair hosted in cities around the world, features guest lecturers and participants, and almost everyone who spoke, had some form of accent (including British.)
Those of you who read these pages no that I am not a fan of Justice’s cock rock techno.Â This article accompanied by photo evidence (above) catching Justice playing “live” with an un-plugged MIDI controller is just too funny to pass up.Â As someone who has done real live electronic music back in my Team Shadetek days I know how difficult this is to do and do well, so on one level I’m sympathetic, on the other level, you shouldn’t lie to your fans guys.Â I stopped doing live electronics when my music took a turn towards hiphop, dancehall and grime and I didn’t think that any of the live improvisation I would do would improve the music.Â Since then my show has been me DJing tracks from a laptop, sometimes with effects.Â I play lots of un-released new dubs of mine that no one else has and make up my set list as I go along.Â I figure that’s worth the price of admission.Â You get to hear my music, mixed and selected by me and get a peek into my present sound, IE the future since it always takes so long to get records or CDs out.Â I have a new project (more on that soon) that might be appropriate to a live format and so am I actually considering going into loop djing mode (breaking down the tracks into parts and re-constructing live) for that, probably using ableton live, but we’ll see.Â However, you will NEVER see me on stage with an un-plugged MIDI controller making faces and pretending to do things that I’m not.Â Thanks to Dan @ Dubspot for the link.
For the past few months I’ve been teaching music production at Dubspot. It’s a small music school on 14th street in Manhattan that places an emphasis on teaching people how to make different forms of beats and electronic music, learning to DJ, etc. I’m surprised how much I enjoy teaching there, I like being able to guide people through some of the pitfalls of beatmaking and not make the mistakes I did starting out. MAN do I wish I had something like this when I was starting. The students are for the most part great and interesting and Dan who founded it and the other instructors are really cool. I teach music production using Logic, which is the software I use to make my own music. I’m posting because I have a new class starting in a few weeks and if any DA readers are interested in signing up you can give Dan my name and get a 10% discount. The class that’s starting next is the Advanced Logic course but there will also be a new Logic One course soon, I’ll post the dates when I get it. If you have questions about the course feel free to contact me via myspace or leave a comment on this post and I’ll do my best to answer them.