Atmosphere – Strictly Leakage

April 4, 2008

Atmosphere has a cd available for download on the Rhyme Sayers website titled “Strictly Leakage”.  Here is the link to the page where you can download the album (and also check out their new single “Shoulda Known”).  Scroll down a bit and you will see the link to grab “Strictly Leakage”.  While the album title is a bit odd (<insert feminine hygiene joke here>) I really enjoyed it.  Most of the tracks have a funky vibe to them which I love.  I think I have an odd attraction to rap songs that use horns and guitar stabs.  It kind of reminds me of DJ Shadow’s School House Funk albums.

I mean how can you not these lyrics from the song “The Things That Hate Us”:

“As American has herpes and hot dogs/Got lost between the mustard and hot sauce/Unprotected sex with that one you just met/You ain’t even got all your Hep shots yet”

damn, heh.


Sampling and Turntablism

January 28, 2008


“Caught, now in court cause I stole a beat
This is a sampling sport”
– Public Enemy – “Caught, Can We Get A Witness?”

 When it comes to sampling and turntablism in regards to music, I am pretty much clueless.  However I feel that both of these art forms are often neglected and given negative connotations as either “stealing” or “noise”.  If you are remotely interested in either sampling or turntabling, I recommend watching the documentary “Scratch“.

  Some people refer to scratching as merely noise due to a dj dragging a record against a needle to make sound or noise.  As well they may say all it really takes to do is a person to turn a record.  In regards to this, isn’t drumming just hitting something?  There is more to these arts then just simple body movements.  Some DJs and turntablists are able to take a single sample of an instrument and through various scratching techniques make it sound like this single instrument is playing a more complex piece.  For an awesome example and video of this check out Kid Koala – Drunk Trumpet.

  Sampling sometimes has the negative connation of “stealing” due to dj’s taking pieces or samples from other musician’s music.  However look at a musician like DJ Shadow who’s album “Endtroducing…” is built around samples and uses them merely as building blocks in creating a song that is uniquely different from the artists who he sampled from.  DJ Spooky has an interesting view on sampling in saying that songs which use many samples form kind of a network between songs and/or genres which may not have existed before.

To illustrate an example of this I am going to choose a song from, in my opinion, one of the greatest rap albums of all time: Public Enemy’s “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”.   The song I am choosing is “She Watch Channel Zero“.  According to Wikipedia the samples that are listed (and known) for this song are:

  • Angel of Death” by Slayer (guitar)
  • “Funky Drummer” by James Brown (drums) 

  •   In this respect, “She Watch Channel Zero” acts as a connector between Slayer’s “Angel of Death” and (the often sampled) “Funky Drummer” by James Brown.   This in a sense makes “She Watch Channel Zero” an amalgamation of a thrash metal song and a funk song.  Although this is a simple example consisting of two samples it helps to show how sampling can be viewed, in a sociological-like sense, as a bridge between two different musical genres that appear to share little in common.