malleus&incus

Wherein the author appears to have started a strong course of antidepressants

Posted in Hip Hop, Instrumental Hip Hop, Mashup by jawillisetc on July 7, 2010

I’m worried my last post may have given people the impression that I’m a bitter, sullen and generally not well-adjusted guy. I swear that isn’t the case most of the time. I’ve been happy plenty of times. I have fun, I do fun things.

For example: I’m in a tree.

Today I bought a box of Capri Sun (Tropical Punch) from the Shaws about a mile down the street, pulled out one of those bulging silver sucrose pouches, and climbed a tree. It might be a maple tree; it looks deciduous. I don’t really know.

Botany is boring.

Anyway, sitting in a tree, drinking Capri Sun, listening to music. What music?

The Avalanches.

Since I Left You//Since I Left You

I’m not sure how a group called “The Avalanches” managed to produce that particular nugget of concentrated carefree summer sunshine. I suppose the name is less about snow than about the overwhelming flood of samples that went into producing the album. Or, since they’re Australian, maybe they just have no idea what an avalanche is. Either way, there’s nothing even remotely cold about the stuff.

Since I Left You was released in 2000 or 2001 depending on the particulars of copyright law where you live. That’s four years after DJ Shadow released the entirely sample-based “Endtroducing” and two years before both 2 Many DJs “As Heard On Radio Soulwax” and Girl Talk’s inaugural LP “Secret Diaries”. Chronologically it sits squarely in between the rise of Shadow inspired instrumental hip-hop and the subsequent succession of the schizoid sample explosions that characterize mash-ups. Stylistically, “Since I Left You” rests somewhere in between the two styles. Lacking the emphasis on drums that characterizes any student of DJ Shadow, the album is way t0o playful for hip-hop heads to lethargically nod along to. At the same time, it lacks the violence that characterizes most mash ups. This album has the attention to detail and smooth production characteristic of meticulous hip-hop production, but it’s too fun to be instrumental hip-hop.

Two Hearts in 3/4 Time//Since I Left You (The Avalanches)

The Number Song//Endtroducing (DJ Shadow)

Smash Your Head//Night Ripper (Girl Talk)

Flutes, sunshine synths, and carefree singalong vocal samples dominate this album, producing a sunny and upbeat tone that helps make the occasionally lovesick and melodramatic story that the vocal samples suggest more palatable.  This album is almost all playful highs, and any bass that shows up doesn’t growl or rumble, instead it playfully bounces. Even the comparatively dark Frontier Psychiatrist, (which beats RJD2 at his own game 3 years before “Dead Ringer”) is too funny to really break the summery vibe of the whole album.

Frontier Psychiatrist//Since I Left You

The Horror//Dead Ringer (RJD2)

So if it’s too playful to be hip-hop, and it’s too smooth to be mash ups, what is it? Basically, I dunno. It’s sorta like this Capri Sun. It’s synthetic, the result of digesting thousands of different sweet and good things, concentrating the best components, and synthesizing something sweeter, better, and entirely distinct from its source material. There’s no reason to think too hard about it, just relax in a tree or a hammock or wherever and enjoy. The only thing “Since I Left You” is missing is one of those great little holes that you poke the thin yellow straw/spear through.

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One Response

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  1. reread my comment said, on July 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    hey, jawillisetc, just wanna say thanks. and by thanks i mean FAWKYOU! see i dloaded this shiz and i was bumpin in my honda fit and i thought it was just the base that was makin my car rock and shit but turns out i had a flat tire! and now my rims broken and the wheel need realligning! SO THANKS for putting me 1200 BONES in the red! imma have to sell my kids to a sweat factory now….


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