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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Mashups for a mammoth and a sloth, both zombies

Colonel Russian Elephant - Tom Waits 'Russian Dance' vs J Pat O'Malley, Verna Felton and chorus 'Colonel Hathi's March' and 'Colonel Hathi's March (Reprise)'

Written by Tom Waits, Richard Sherman, Robert Sherman; arranged by IronicHide

(c) Island 1993, Disneyland 1967

Free MP3 download: IronicHide - Colonel Russian Elephant.mp3


Insane House Brain Beat - John Murphy 'In The House / In A Heartbeat' vs Cypress Hill 'Insane In The Brain'

Written by John Murphy, Louis Freese, Melvin McArthur Hardin, Hubert Timothy McPherson, Lee Dorsey, James Brown, Sly Stone, Jerry Corbitt; arranged by IronicHide

(c) XL 2003, Ruffhouse 1993

Free MP3 download: Insane House Brain Beat.mp3

One of these took a week of work, the other was bashed out last minute. Try to guess which.

I'd been yearning to use John Murphy's theme tune from 28 Days Later with some hip hop since I started annoying you, personally, with music a few years ago in my Brentford bedroom. There was a now-destroyed version with Regulators by Warren G that never got anywhere.

If you think the mashup sounds funny or off-tempo, that's kind-of deliberate. Normally, the bass drum goes on the 1 beat, the snare goes on the 3. (Sidenote: reggae purists insist they land on the 2 and the 4.) Well, that's swapped here. It was an accident begun by starting to mix the track with Cypress Hill starting around the two-minute mark and working outwards. (So, getting the second verse and chorus lined up right, then dealing with the intro and ending separately.)

The trouble is, I'd misread the scope and stuck the bass drum on the 3-beat of Murphy's music. Actually, this worked better as, when the zombie music gets going with the 8/8 drum pattern, it doesn't interfere too much with the rap beat over the top of it. Re-aligning the tracks to match the 1 and 3 beats made the section sound (even) muggier. 

The only problem was with the intro, where I cut out the Cypress Hill beat every fourth bar or so to make it sound more like it was trying to find a comfortable place alongside Murphy's arpeggio. 

Also, I used just a straight EQ to take the bass out of Insane In The Brain, then ran a filter over the top. This is also the first time I've seriously played about with envelopes to get the levels somewhere near workable. Like I said, rush job.

Sticking the Jungle Book with Tom Waits was much more fun, which is probably why I took longer doing it. The Sherman Brothers also wrote loads of the music for Mary Poppins, which pretty much makes them the scorers of my childhood, along with Anne Bryant.

The elephant march is inverted, canceling most of the bass horns. It also knocked out every other two bars of the pounding bass drum, so I took a separate sample of that and looped it. 

Russian Dance was one of the first tracks I had ever heard by Waits (who became the scorer of my twenties). I used to work in a record store in 1997 and we'd play this at closing time, full volume, to hound people out of the store. Good times.

Unfortunately, being a deliberately messy cabaret tune written for a stage troupe, it has pretty irregular time-keeping, there was a lot of tiny twists and stretches on my part to get it to fit. 

It might not use material as well-known as Insane House Brain Beat but I think I kinda love it for truly sounding like a shaggy Tsarist mammoth

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