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/electronica/ Anonymous 01/23/2021 (Sat) 14:41:47 No.983
Home of all things, music and dance scenes, made possible by machine manipulation and sampling devices. Samples of the classic pieces and some bits of the history of its purveyors without none of the mysterious pills and rowdy ravers. Check our mother thread /musicprod/ as well for more discussion: >>42
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Our first example to start things up with the Breakbeat/Triphop subgenre is Amon Adonai Santos de Araújo Tobin. Born in Rio de Janeiro Brazil to an irish father and mystery meat mother, he seems to have had an "active" childhood as his father shifted workplaces constantly so Amon ended up living all over the world until he settled in England somewhere (Brighton i suppose) in the early 90's. One would think he didn't have much to do due to his constant and drastic environment changes so according to some media and hearsay he listened to lots of music in different mediums (ranging from Jazz, psychedelia, obscure experimental records) and he probably also had the spare money or parts to have some technical knowledge but nothing much came out of it as a serious project. While on college in London circa 1995 he read a newspaper ad from Ninebar Records asking for demos to pull somebody and publish some stuff at small scales, he send some old stuff he had lying around and was contacted immediately for further talks. Soon he published an EP as Cujo titled Curfew which showcases some of his sampling skills along with drum machine programming, this one is an oddity in context to his later stuff as it is somewhat contemporary to the early 90's in which he came from, it still features clear and strong hip-hop influence which would be more toned down or at least so blended in that it becomes lost in the sea of audio he would be famous for. In 1996, after having some other EPs with new material to test his skills, he released Adventures in Foam, his only major release under the Cujo moniker which features by now a style somewhat consistent to his famous days albeit probably a bit darker and still swimming in plain drum n' bass waters. As a first release and one made by someone who was not considered an active artist either in niche scenes or in his own house, and in less than a year, the album had some impact and artists at the newly-formed Ninja Tune made war to contact him and get his services ASAP. And so the record bought his contract and gave him resources, such as the in-house graphic designers who were also some of the musicians (DJ Food i believe was one), and the man went on sampling stuff. After some shenanigans regarding who exactly had the rights for his Cujo records the man had his moniker changed to simply Amon Tobin, nice and simple, and released Bricolage thus starting what many believe is his golden era of sometimes simple, sometimes extensive and complex method of jazz, funk, old pop and bossa nova sampling works. He seemed to have captured different audiences at the same time, the jazz snubs liked his moody and sometimes playful refreshment of old licks on top of others, the jungle dnbs liked the percussion works and originality, and the local scene in England rich in variation thought it was among its best examples. In 1998 he released a sort of sequel, Permutation, using the same recipe but a bit more refined along the edges with it seemingly becoming just as much of a success than the previous album. By this point many were wondering what kind of genre was this, it came from drum n' bass but its extensive sample connections placed it away from it at times, it wasn't the Nü Jazz born of jazz musicians savvy with machines and/or House musicians savvy with jazz records either so people placed it in either way but by now the Ninja Tune record house was building their famous catalogue.
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In 2000 the release of Supermodified, probably the most famous work of Tobin, featured now a smoother style that breaks further the barriers of where a sample starts and when does an actual instrument played for the record comes into play, along with mixing into the recipe the Big Beat subgenre now in full swing on the mainstream. The samples became more obscure distancing themselves from classic Verve or Blue Note recordings, the beats became chunkier, the melodies perhaps more moody, it was a revitalization of the recipe along with a new success. Tobin moved from Eternal Anglo London to Montreal, Eternal Leafland, and started his next project under the pressure that he was at this point one of the most important figures in the now-established subgenre of Triphop slash Breakbeat along with Massive Attack, not to mention old records hated him and tried to hunt down many of his songs out of the radio due to the samples people started to recognize. In my opinion he delivered in spades, releasing Out From Out Where in 2002 refining once again the recipe, smoother and integrating his own homemade samples done in his studio on the old section of Montreal, akin to a foley room of sorts. One technique used too was contracting session musicians to jam and then use the coolest licks he could detect and make songs out of it, these were the lenghts gone simply to avoid touching an instrument. 5 hits in a row made the man get a good old global tour along with many of his stuff starting to appear in media such as movies, commercials, so on and so on. The album is by some considered the highest point, others consider the 2000 piece more groundbreaking but one thing for certain is that this record was his last major work considered in the unofficial but popular instituted golden era. In the next 5-year period started from one album to another he realized some EPs, Live mixes and oddities but most important (in my opinion) are the soundtrack projects he delivered for Ubisoft Montreal and György Pálfi: Sometime around 2003 to 2004 he was tasked to create some beats for an upcoming Splinter Cell, he got some ideas, paid some session musicians and it seems a small phillarmonic group and made them jam for a long time along with writing some small bits, he recorded everything and mixed it sample-style like he did previously in OFOW... the result was Chaos Theory released in 2005, luckily attached to an already excellent stealth game and placed into it using a situational system based on tension and action, the man in charge of tweaking and asking for more sections to make it perfect was no other than Jesper Kyd, a genre expert and one of the golden boys in the field. In my humble opinion i think it's one of the best soundtracks in its era, enhancing the experience of what is considered one of the best games in its genre. Sometime around 2005 he was tasked to make a small contribution to a project already controversial in its inception due to touching its nation's history, the hungarian Taxidermia made by one of the country's most inane film theorists needed a special soundtrack for the special storyboard and cinematography work deviced already, Tobin was given some old folk recordings and himself created others to create a somewhat unsettling but moody score for what would be a very controversial picture that became a cult classic and stood the test of time, perhaps considered artsy fartsy by the mainstream but i think it's very solid if grotesque in its approach, this would be more of a /film/ discussion but i can personally say its camera work and script concept are great to say the least. Then 2007 happened, Tobin had been working with field recordings for a while due to being crippled by records trying to sue him for all his crimes against copyright, bending the machinery and ambient things he recorded and trying to up the game in mixing them more and more to the point of insanity. He released in that year Foley Room to great expectation but it was received with muffled acclaim and questions regarding the future, although a good record it certainly felt as a retirement from the classics of the genre. It still features some sick beats, let alone being pretty atmospheric, but as a whole it felt more as an experimental record rather than something to hear casually or even dance to it, later on Tobin would become even more experimental to the point of his work becoming more akin to actual sound design rather than song-making. Personally i lost trace of him after 2011's ISAM but if the music video for a song in his 2019's Fear in a Handful of Dust is to be used to express something is that he went all-in for making things out of anything but instruments played by musicians. Still, his first records are still there for us to enjoy (although instadeleted on Youtube some years ago due to strikes) and the man certainly is a master at what he does, he has other outfits and releases stuff in them often but i don't think they have the sauce that made him memorable in the beginning.
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In this """small""" preview we can resume the work he's known for. 5:30 hours, 65 + 2 webms, showcasing the first 7 albums and 11 singles/EPs for which he still stands today as one of the most notorious examples in the subgenre, as well as having pioneer status.
20+1 releases, 2GB in size, mostly 320kbps converted from FLAC Major Works: (1996) Cujo ~ Adventures In Foam >https://mega.nz/file/rV5SCAAb#_kTU3nlW7iOnTAQEUE67oQVeszgsJn3BqscEpgXq8zY (1997) Amon Tobin ~ Bricolage >https://mega.nz/file/XB40RaiY#u_mBKOjYBaHwYNuVUrO0ANlpThdRm4B33UKr9mBalcw (1998) Amon Tobin ~ Permutation >https://mega.nz/file/mVwCGaIA#-3GqwftRaaC2ZUEztkBY0m4_8hoLC_HPGhhjZdfCS0c (2000) Amon Tobin ~ Supermodified >https://mega.nz/file/iQ5gVaaA#1bDcU6lz7nxeZIEPHlPL6FDHuCZOdXFoQWz0A2_ZxRE (2002) Amon Tobin ~ Out From Out Where >https://mega.nz/file/OR5kgaCY#1FpfAsNziAHRirlKgvsf4mK3gJvKPZ66RR9eTvrQBVM (2005) Amon Tobin ~ Chaos Theory >https://mega.nz/file/6FgEWQBA#AtDY7tB1CXcI9HcxqC_TA88Oa_5Skz5jAU6e3QWJUOM >https://mega.nz/file/yVpmGCBQ#XWwYZRYDVexCkqZLko5c03nQQPRdYdd1GcLqBSzHHSI (2007) Amon Tobin ~ Foley Room >https://mega.nz/file/OYwCgCBB#JMJg81R8TMLHmxYFjrEDz4MMfnzdwOf3ZcmOEDcxUlU EP & Singles: (1995) Cujo ~ Curfew EP >https://mega.nz/file/PMhgBYBI#6bM9PltrseIBGl3sstFttRmiWPOYaBicRXrrjeCPp4Y (1996) Cujo ~ The Remixes >https://mega.nz/file/TM5EgSgR#TKc1ox6_3zx27PI3XfpE-Fz7I3nihJO1iMqWKP-pdsA (1996) Amon Tobin ~ Creatures EP >https://mega.nz/file/nZhQwK4Q#G6KvwoLztlrUsfHzBC-wvQAK_vMiD8477U0RXrtIoIc (1997) Amon Tobin ~ Chomp Samba >https://mega.nz/file/iV4i3aIS#go6I4PJE_eNw8IIr-iqBQNEYA3bbGaSGLL4vowDQShU (1997) Amon Tobin ~ Mission >https://mega.nz/file/bQpSVAxA#hPz9PuDq6JvdPNGqQPoNHq-Wh1vjNM8EiOeMFgS4o70 (1997) Amon Tobin ~ Piranha Breaks >https://mega.nz/file/eYoyBYZD#7VEGBauIryxA6-h1gWI8SBBVVpPMeFnlSsTzIg1lzLU (1998) Amon Tobin ~ Like Regular Chickens Mixes >https://mega.nz/file/qAgUhIgb#lhB0BaBCOKGW3wCPYF4oQKsqUR6UWCDv2Lypvbf4F-0 (2000) Amon Tobin ~ 4 Ton Mantis >https://mega.nz/file/iNxgwKgZ#nKgvvgjahOQsItDz5oS287dGaui8mOlvcK9mrUuYPy8 (2000) Amon Tobin ~ Slowly >https://mega.nz/file/WMwE1QKY#c4THI4x-w7WYX_1jnIVraC9F8GWW7okQRJPPZ8P_K98 (2002) Amon Tobin ~ East to West >https://mega.nz/file/zQw0EQLS#y1fJWPZfv0qIL2t4_iMml6aEuoCogrllJ_eI372FNdU (2002) Amon Tobin ~ Verbal >https://mega.nz/file/vVwyhQKA#1u2G7m0KCD0EEXaBSIEaM7us7cj2O0wiABiYLld7vo0 (2003) Amon Tobin ~ Verbal Remixes & Collaborations >https://mega.nz/file/iVpQWCLS#2l0oWKiVfox6NkhmJf9zGz6sKsXiatA-8CkNql67WwU (2006) Amon Tobin ~ Taxidermia >https://mega.nz/file/HBxy0CJZ#iuUEhoETGKk1ynCe3qo1efkN-ucW4PSbknJjcP8sGVs
For our next example we will look into what many considered back then the perhaps only female counterpart of Tobin and other notorious, purely Breakbeat artists: Riz Maslen Born somewhere in Gloucestershire England, this feisty cat with severe self-esteem hair problems and man hands entered the music scene in her teenage years playing guitar with her sister for some indie bands mostly in the folk/post-punk/shoegaze circles but moved to keyboards and then the mixing heads after seeing and analyzing how artists were moving shit around to give density and space to their guitar antics; sometime later she moved to London to try and get into the electronic scene. Soon she was competent enough to work on the jockeys after teaching and moving knobs (heh) herself in a small studio owned by a producer she was working with, man gave her the keys to do what she pleased at nighttime so i guess he was a nice guy yeah right. She met some other producers nearby and worked providing vocals or quick slings of an instrument, seems to have been in-demand as she worked singing on several of these outfits like Future Sound of London and 4hero but also freelancing as a player, most prominently with The Beloved, and/or moonlighting as a DJ. In an article she mentions how she went on trying to make the FSOL guys teach her at least the basics of the machine she was puzzled by the most in between recordings, the sampler, to the point she ended up entering a relationship with one of these dudes due to so much time talking, Brian Dougans, who in return taught her much of the magic behind them. According to Ninja Tune it seems there was a specific moment in which she decided to get some money and build a small home studio, consisting of a sampler an Atari and a tape machine, to start making her own stuff as she didn't want to stay a small one-off sampled singer... so she started mixing samples, playing some instruments or voices in, getting some special hardware boost the MIDI ranges, overall resulting in some experimental demos but quite in the mood with the newly-forming Breakbeat scene (then still considered inside the Drum n' Bass panorama). She released them in different demos and compilation albums under the now-famed name of Neotropic, as early as 1994 with Bubble Dub, and soon she was seemingly scouted and given a contract for Ninja Tune records although in their "other"-category house called NTune. Outside she also released some tough-to-find material with the moniker of Small Fish with Spine accompanied by some of her friends from the scene and the old days. With NTune she released a small EP called Tumble Weed in 1995 as an icebreaker in her initial endeavors, then a thematic EP called Laundrophonic concerning the increasing ambient of Laundromats and maybe the fear of boring yourself to dead inside one, i read a comment that the record is a "found sound" experiment as in it was made sampling sounds recorded inside places or themes, in this case a good old laundry center. Some months later, in 1996, she compiled most of the material so far and released, in my opinion, her best work and a classic in the genre: The melancholic 15 Levels of Magnification, written mixed produced and performed by her own roughed hands. The spirit of this album was around her countryside uncomfortable feelings towards the quick and drastic wave of surveillance measures the city of London was taking in their public spaces, specifically the cameras and cops on every corner, and with the previous experience of on-field recordings she went on to her fav (and not so fav) places and sample the sounds that appeared there, either in London or in her home town. A Single was released later with some remixes made by her pals, along with old material, and then she went onto making the next one. After a small glimpse with remixes of the next material, 2 years after the big debut she released Mr. Brubaker's Strawberry Alarm Clock, a polarizing but still notorious record in the genre, either regarded as her actual best work and an instant classic in the genre or, in my opinion, a good album but maybe a bit too disorganized in content. It does have some cool vocal songs and features soon some of her constant collaborators, Nina Barry as female voice and PJ Fredericks as male voice/guitar/lyricist. Its biggest stenghts are the eclectic use of sampled instruments, ambient changes and livid mood of it, it's a bit chaotic but people liked it a lot back then to the point the artist and label decided a tour would be a decent idea to capitalize on it as it actually received radio play, nothing new for Maslen who was a somewhat experienced producer herself. According to some articles the album was made in a torrid moment in her life due to woman issues i suppose but perhaps something went a little deeper, either way the songs do demonstrate strong feelings in their making but also with her usual attention to detail, it is a bit more polished than the previous record.
After touring and spending some of the money in what seems to be one of her hobbies, traveling abroad and taking pictures of it, she stealthily released Ultimate Sushi under the Small Fish name; she did release more stuff under this name but i couldn't find much for free other than a single given out in her Bandcamp. This record did finish what could be coined as her early, mostly breakbeat days and soon she started morphing her now-imitated sound into something more elaborate, live instruments were included more prominently than samples and overall it leaned towards a more organic triphoppy sound rather than the mechanical nature of the Breaks. In 2001 she released in quick succession a Single from the album called Sunflower Girl and the album itself, La Prochaine Fois (translated into something like "The Next Time/Occasion"), a dream of a sound she made. I am a bit biased as one of my all-time favorite tracks is in it but Riz did polish a lot from the previous records, maybe a bit too much and moving it in another direction than some people might've wanted but the movement was done. She used some extensive help from live players, including that folky PJ Fred dude and Nick McCabe, one of The Verve's psychedelic guitar men, along with playing the Rhodes piano/Hammond organ and drowning everything in mixing density trickery. All of these show as the songs move in reverb, increasing their sounds little by little; Quite a trip, and the girl even attached to the album a video project spawned from her photo ventures, a somewhat pretentious but still colorful Super8 film made from old reels snapping at some of her journeys and nature/picnic day-offs, it does get interesting at times. Shamefully the album and the single were the last 2 records in the NTune label, after that and taking into advantage the swift sound change of her style she went to the seemingly-respected US label Mush and landed a deal for her 2004 record called White Rabbit. At this point the nature of the Breaks in her early work was almost gone and the music switched into something even Triphop would consider too natural, definitely experimental but easily digestible or at least in some of the songs. The Wabbit would prove to be a mixture of everything this chick had under the sleeve, it has folky rocky shit, electronica mixed in along with being produced as such, there's some jazzy samples although very small, there's the psych guitars and even some dreamy bluesy solos. Hard to categorize it but it is enjoyable, at least for me, and it also included another movie made by her and some partners but sadly i could not find this one around without paying intercontinental shipping (maybe another day). After that endevour it seems the album didn't stay put and was even re-issued in 2 other labels, one Riz's own. Around those days too while living in London she somehow landed, either via Old Boy connection or actual portfolio selection, some jobs to help in the soundtrack department for Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series, specifically in Liberty City Stories. Those games usually had licensed soundtracks but in tradition to GTA 3's legacy radio stations the studio actually created songs for them, in LCS i think they featured the last attempt at doing so with Maslen being one of the primary contributors, along with Connor & Jay, as producer and even artist in a song sung by Nina. In latter/recent years she went on to change her sound even more adding classical bits and operatic voice leads but i'm not familiar with those records (3 or 4 EPs and 2 albums, one released quite recently) but perhaps we will visit them later for completionist's sake. I guess i will stop here, Riz Maslen still seems to be active, in social media she does have a small presence but mainly publishing stuff from her hobbies, those being photo & travel stuff and so far i didn't see any politics; while reading articles and checking photos to post i found her in situations ranging from knitting and collage-ing stuff for children, to going around in Asia with her old scene female friends, to painting, to gardening with weed and mixing audio for her recent material so i guess she does get around. Her early crazy folk punk and renegade electronica bad bitch days seem to have gone away to give place into this bizarre but strangely wholesome lady who, at a glance, seems to be just living life in East Sussex at her own pace and creativity so all i can say is good going. She needs to leave her hair alone tho, at least for a year, and maybe find a man while she's at it.
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In this "small" preview we can resume the work she's known for, at least in the original electronica scene. 3:33 hours, 39 + 3 webms, showcasing the first 5 albums and 4 singles/EPs for which she's known for as one of the few honestly good femoid DJs but who also reinvented herself in an artistically successful way (def not economically), pioneer status is still there anyways.

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