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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Brown Blood - Slayer v Roni Size / Reprazent

Brown Blood by IronicHide

Roni Size / Reprazent 'Brown Paper Bag' (Vocal Edit, Photek Remix, Nobukazu Takemura Remix) vs Slayer 'Reign In Blood'
Written by Roni Size, Jeff Hannemann, Kerry King
Arranged by IronicHide
(c) 1997 Talkin' Loud, 1986 Def American

Hello, again, little one, come on in, you look chilly. I've lit the fire and am burning anything incriminatory today.

If you're asking about the ZooFights thing, there are a few more tracks to post up here, and I will do so, don't let me forget. Meanwhile, let me remind you of an old story: My debut album.

This is the last of seven tracks I'm putting up on Soundcloud. The next update will be the completion of the album, with all eight tracks and exclusive (crappy) artwork available through a variety of sources. All for free.

So, yes, this thing. Pull up a cushion, I'll tell you whatagwan.

Back in May 1997 I worked in a record store in Hammersmith. I'd got the job because I was the only interviewee who said I like music. I'd only been in the job for a few weeks when the Mercury Music Prize nominees came out. There was a big push in the store to make sure we had copies of all nominated albums forever on display at the front of the shop, mainly OK Computer by Radiohead, who everybody fancied for the prize.

I said not. Even as a Radiohead fan who'd nearly worn out the binary on his CD copy of OK Computer, I thought New Forms would win. It was the end of the high for the Bristol breakbeat era and Labour were taking office for the first time in 18 years. I'd had my first split with my first proper girlfriend and had nearly finished my first year of A-levels. Things pointed to a live instrumentation drum'n'bass album with jazz nods and a lot of prog doing well.

I remember staking my credibility in the store on Roni Size / Reprazent winning. It was 16-1 at the bookies nearby and I threatened to put a fiver on it. When it did win, my manager just resented me for being right. Everybody wanted to buy New Forms in the following week and it was made my task to explain to people that it was a double CD and, therefore, £18. (If you own the later-released single CD version, you've pretty much got all the best stuff; pick up the Watching Windows remixes single, if you can.)

Against that, I fucking love Slayer. Reign In Blood isn't my favourite album, that's Seasons In The Abyss, but Raining Blood is my favourite track. Some may scoff at this. It's akin to saying Smells Like Teen Spirit is your favourite Nirvana track, or Creep is the best thing Radiohead have done.

Thrash snobs (of whom I would consider myself a member) tend to praise Angel Of Death for it's rhapsodic structure, speed and precision, and for really setting down the agenda of the genre. Those who don't mind a bit of Lombardo-blasphemy may go for Killing Fields or Dittohead. Slayer fans also tend to throw in War Ensemble or Mandatory Suicide as overlooked gems. Which they are, but I'm sticking with Raining Blood.

So, two big songs that will, one day, be chosen by me when I'm a world-conquering musical rearrangement artist and interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. This will happen.

I know, and I am prepared for a lot of scorn being poured on this mashup. Metal fans (the wider hub of the thrash snob community) tend to be resentful about other people messing about with metal. Like all bookish, pedantic, anti-social people, metallers tend to resent most things. I can say this because I am one and have spent enough time in The Marlborough Head and The Intrepid Fox, reading a Machine Head inlay book or Fear Factory lyric sheet. In short: Unless you are Devin Townsend, I'm not listening to your cries that I may not fuck with the music that I enjoy. There are no sacred cows.

Intelligent dance music (IDM, a short-lived catch-all term for a lot of UK and German instrumental albums from 1995 - 2005) snobs, on the other hand, tend to not care a cuss about Roni Size and attribute his brief popularity to the 'hhhhheeehhhhnnnn' cry from Onallee that signals the beat kicking in on Brown Paper Bag. Then they go back to debating Plastikman or Squarepusher. One of these guys is a real pain to work with, ask me about that one day.

This is the last of the very, very early mashups I made. Probably the third or fourth. It began, in 2007, with the realisation that the inversion trick on Raining Blood didn't wipe out Tom Araya's voice, it wiped out Dave Lombardo's drums. Which is not ideal for listening to Slayer. Personal opinion: Lots of what King and Hanneman do is dressing for Lombardo's work, which is still the punchiest drum sound ever produced (25 years after recording).

Anyhow, I had some isolated Slayer guitar lines. I stuck the Vocal Edit of Brown Paper Bag over the top as it was the nearest thing to hand that was equally as fast-paced.

About half of what you hear on this mashup - the intro, the coda - is what was made in 2007, in my old South Ealing flat. The rest of it is a 2010 remake of the original idea for the verses, a 2011 remake of the section from 2:00 to 2:25 and, from there to about 3:15, a newer section I made on a whim. Tucked in there is a double-time breakbeat I made from individual cymbal and drum samples.

If at any point in the production, the timing went out between the tracks, I always stuck with Slayer being correct. Because we do not question Dave Lombardo.

There are three different mixes of Brown Paper Bag used - the Vocal Edit, the Nobukazu Takemura Remix, and the Photek Remix - all of which I got because the store I purchased the CD from (not the one I worked in) put the wrong disc in the sleeve.

Man, I could have got £80 if I'd followed that bet. That was a fortnight's wage back then. Which reminds me, PJ Harvey owes me for winning the Mercury Prize this year. Ask me about that some time.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

ZooFights VI Royal Rumble: 23 tracks, 21 artists, 12 minutes, 11 meg, nine mashups, four samples

You remember how I said rush jobs make me lose my mind? You remember how I said big mixes make me lose my mind? Fweep.

This is also a first for me. The mix above includes elements, I won't quite call them individual mashups, that are only for the mix, namely Real Life (a sample from GOP TV vs Faith No More 'The Real Thing' vs 'Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)' by Soul II Soul) and Flash Fear (Tones On Tail 'The Movement Of Fear' vs Helen St John 'Love Theme From Flashdance'). There are, of course, a few mashups within it that I can make available individually. So I will. Lucky you.

Additional credits: Nobuo Uematsu 'Final Fantasy (Opening)' and 'Final Fantasy (Victory)', written by Nobuo Uematsu, (c) DataM / Polystar 1989 Rising Tide (c) GOPTV 1994; Faith No More 'The Real Thing', written by Mike Patton, Roddy Bottum, Mike Gould, (c) Slash 1989; Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, (c) 20th Century Fox 1984; Tones On Tail 'Movement Of Fear', written by Daniel Ash, Glenn Campling, Kevin Haskins, (c) Beggars Banquet 1984; Helen St John 'Love Theme From Flashdance', written by Giorgio Moroder, (c) Casablanca 1983; arranged by IronicHide

Soul II Sould 'Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)' v Alice Cooper 'Feed My Frankenstein'; Written by Trevor Beresford Romeo, Caron Wheeler, Nellee Hooper, Simon Law, Alice Cooper, Mark Manning, Ian Richardson, Nick Coler; Arranged by IronicHide; (c) Virgin 1989, Epic 1992
Ok, gotta 'fess up at this point. This mashup was made for an earlier incarnation of the ZooFights competitor Angsteater, back when it fought Cold Warlrus. It didn't get used (neither did the Walruses' tune) as the fight coverage started mid-brawl and/or nobody liked it. Tomaeto, tomahto. This version, however, has an extended coda that I dumped out of the mix to cut the running time and to get a sweet segue from Soul II Soul to the Def Leppard v AC/DC mashup. The acapella was sped up slightly to fit Alice Cooper's track, and this mashup was used to set the timing for the long-form mix; thus making Feed My Frankenstein (which I only found out was released in 1992 long after I'd made this, damn my presumptive attitude) probably the only bit of audio in the entire Rumble soundtrack that is in its original tempo.

Beastie Boys 'Brass Monkey' v The Pixies 'Monkey Gone To Heaven'; Written by Francis Black, Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, Adam Horovitz, Rick Rubin; Arranged by IronicHide; (c) Elektra 1989, Def Jam / Columbia 1986

And, if you're taking confessions, I've already written about this Beasties v Pixies mashup. It was part of a raft of mashups made before we really worked out how to use them in ZooFights. If I had enough time to make nine individual theme tunes, I would have. I didn't, I'm afraid, but a skateboarding monkey that was always headed for disaster and had now been turned in to a jar of frog's piss absolutely justified the recycling of this track, to my mind. It's a classic conundrum.

Def Leppard 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' v AC/DC 'Back In Black; Written by Steve Clark, Phil Collen, Joe Elliot, Robert John Lange, Rick Savage, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson; Arranged by IronicHide; (c) Mercury 1987, Atlantic 1981
These two songs are exactly the same. Chug, chug-chug, noodly bit, chug. Same tempo. Bit more production on one. Ignore the chorues. It's like putting frozen peas and sweetcorn in the same pot. Not that there weren't problems. The production levels on Angus Young's lead guitar fills are, ironically, quiet. So, I covered one with another Back To Life sample in the Rumble mix and tried to distract the listener by having the next two fills play alternately in the left and right speaker. For the single mix, I duplicated the fills to play in both channels and boost the sound. There's a chancy cut and overlay of Def Leppard toward the end. This mashup should be a lot shorter but I liked parts of it and extended them to have fun.

Nitzer Ebb 'Let Your Body Learn' (Plastikman arrangement) v AC/DC 'Thunderstruck'; Written by Bon Harris, David Gooday, Douglas McCarthy, Angus Young, Malcolm Young; Arranged by IronicHide; (c) Mute 1987, ATCO 1990

This was the first mashup I made for the Rumble. Sped up Thunderstruck to fit the beat, mixed down Let Your Body Learn for some apparent reason that I later regretted. Note: I'm calling it the Plastikman arrangement as I got the Nitzer Ebb track from the Richie Hawtin long-form mix Decks, Efx & 909. Also, the production ended up so tinny on this thing, I literally just duplicated it to make it twice as loud. 

New Order 'True Faith' v Manhar & Sadhna Sargam 'Har Kisiko Nahin Milta Pyar'; Written by Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Gillian Gilbert, Stephen Hague, Indivar, Anandji Veerji Shah, Kalyanji Veerji Shah; Arranged by IronicHide; (c) Factory 1987, Universal Music India 1986

This was the last mashup made for the Rumble, and in a total blind panic. I was still editing it as the Rumble actually started. True Faith, particular the opening eight bars, makes me inexplicably happy. I thought I'd extend them into a two-minute piece. The entire New Order half of this mashup is the opening two bars looped four times, then the second, third and fourth two looped four times. That's it. Took about 20 minutes. Normally, I'd hand make a loop by splitting the sample from the original and overlaying it. Didn't have time. Just found the in and out points to the nearest millisecond, hit Repeat, selected '3' times. Boom, on we go. If your in and out points aren't exact, any other music longer than the loop, risks going horribly out of sync and no time-stretching will save the mashup. I took the opening 12 bars only from Manhar & Sadhna's song from Janbaaz (a lunatic musical of sex and violence from '80s Bollywood), which left plenty of wiggle room. While honking out short mashups in double-quick time for ZooFights, I learned an equaliser is a worthy isolater and I took a lot out of the track to leave the bass guitar, the snare, the voices and the rinky-dink-dink notes made from a machine I imagine to be made of fine metal tongs and a hand crank. The Rumble version has a slight wobble after the first passage so that's where the Temple of Doom sample got stuck in. Rearranging things for the stand-alone mashup I was able to shift the harmonies within it and add some fading-out rinky-dinks.

Free MP3 download: IronicHide - Duckulawnmoa.mp3

Doreen Edwards & Mike Harding 'Count Duckula (Ending)' v Lawnmower Deth 'Watch Out Grandma, Here Comes A Lawnmower'; Written by Mike Harding, ; Arranged by IronicHide; (c) Cosgrove Hall, Earache 1989
This would have set my all-time new personal best on quickest mashup ever, some 20-odd minutes, were it not for my sound editor crashing as I went to put a final fade on Lawnmower Deth. The Edwards and Harding track, though it sounds like I just taped it off the TV, was actually an MP3 that I put through an aggressive equaliser so that the drums on 'Watch Out...' were more prominent. It is still my shortest mashup since I only used the second verse and chorus of the Duckula theme, so be thankful for tiny mercies. This is another mashup with a significant difference from the long mix version: There's a lot more Lawnmower Deth stuck in and I digitally coded 'Gonna rip your face off' in to the track. 


Blondie 'Atomic' v Metallica 'Ride The Lightning', including samples from Johnny Cash 'The Man Comes Around' and Strapping Young Lad 'S.Y.L.'; Written by Debbie Harry, Jimmy Destri, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton, Dave Mustaine; Arranged by IronicHide; (c) Chrysalis 1980, Megaforce 1984, Def American 2002, Century Media 1995

I promise to stop using Metallica. Honestly, I'm done with them. But it's so tempting when making short '80s mashups. The songs are instantly recognisable, fast tempo and James Hetfield sings on one note. Except he doesn't on this. If anything, previous to the Black album, this is the Metallica song with the most note-rambling throatwork. Those stretched notes and sudden harmonic dips in the chorus; almost every track I'd used previously for Teslacorn or Horsepower had this acapella thrown over it. It fitted none of them. Similarly, I'd tried to use Blondie's track with other songs but the melody just wouldn't work. Regarding the samples: Mental Ben (the terror bear) rides Nightmare (a horse that science has rendered abominable) into the final. So I cut up Johnny Cash talking about a horse and Devin Townsend talking about a bear. In the Rumble mix, I use it as a lead from Flash Fear in to this track but liked it well enough to stick it in this single mix. As a bonus, this is the extended version with two verses instead of one. I really spoil you, huh?