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Monday, 19 December 2011

Last Redentor - Donald Byrd v Herbert

Free MP3 download: IronicHide_LastRedentor.mp3

Donald Byrd 'Cristo Redentor' vs Herbert 'The Last Beat (House Dub)'
Written by Duke Pearson, Matthew Herbert; Arranged by IronicHide
(c) Blue Note 1963, Studio !K7 1998

So. Now then. Then now. My debut album is complete and available to download.

This should have been my first mashup on here. There was a kerfuffle and I put up this instead.

Except it's not my first mashup. That would be when I took the guitar channel out of a folk pop song and stuck the remaining vocal over a heavily processed Iggy Pop beat. More on that later, though, you impetuous scamp.

Actually, my first mashup was a mess made out of Crazy Girl by Basement Jaxx. Happily, for both of us, I killed it. With fire.

This was all back in the basement lounge of my flat in South Ealing. The computer was set up at the end of the couch. I nearly broke my neck craning round to make these things. Also, no flat screen back then. Those of you who have watched the minutiae of an audio scope on a curved screen will understand the hilarious ocular problems we are bound to encounter in later life.

However, this mashup was a happy mistake. I had a Mary Wells acapella that I wanted to stick to something smokey and muscular but never quite found the instrumental I wanted. (Until this.) Instead, I found two instrumentals in the exact same tempo (to the nearest hundredth of a second).

So what? There are an unlimited number of tracks out there in the same tempo. They need to sound good together. Byrd's track is full of chromatic passing notes and Latino augmentations. There's not much that should sound in tune with that.

Happily, my search for contrast in a mashup - something we all should do, bubba - uncovered Herbert's understated gem. Criminally destroying it seemed obvious.

A lot of this had to do with the two tracks being on the same shelf of my CD collection. They were both given to me around the same time in my life. My university flatmate, cretin that he is, found he had no use for the Observer's free CD 60 Years of Cool (which also had Duke Ellington's Caravan on it) and my summer job between academic years at Universal begat me a copy of Gilles Peterson's Worldwide (Volume 1).

This is the sort of coincidence I mistake for serendipity and only encourages me to do stupid things with music.

There's actually very little of my own labour here. I picked a swell in the sound in Cristo Redondor, from there estimated where the first muted bass drum should land from The Last Beat and let the tracks play out.

Just to make me feel like I contributed, I sampled and looped the vocal from Herbert at the start and had to manually manipulate the tempo of Byrd's track (around the first phrases of trumpet) to get a fit with the precision minimalism beneath it.

So that's it, then, now. To date, the longest mashup I've made and, at the time, the quickest to make (roughly two hours' work). Of these first and early works, it's the only time I've put together two instrumental tracks.

Enjoy. Or don't. Your thoughts, as ever, are welcome.