Monday, 6 July 2015

Standing on the shoulders of giants: top 10 house samples

Getting the same sound as your musical heroes is tough; without having the same equipment, playing style and production techniques, that elusive sound is often too difficult to accurately reproduce, though I have found that it can be a satisfying experience to give it a try. Easier then is to sample your favourite artists to get a solid base to work with that you are happy with quickly and then clear the clips later.

I often visit as it is a fantastic resource for discovering the musical influences of the artists you like and in particular with drum and bass, a genre so laden with the influences of samples, to find the right breaks that have that classic sound (Amen Brother, Impeach The President, Think etc). Chris Read's recent article highlighting the sources of samples for some of the greatest house tracks is at once a great insight into the long lasting influence of these older records, which may have faded into obscurity had they not been sampled so heavily, and a reminder of how music can be repurposed and enjoyed by a new generation.

I don't doubt that the Lynn Collins' Think (the James Brown-produced source of those classic vocal breaks for dance, hip hop and drum and bass tunes) is still fantastic to this day and being able to grab that classic sound for loops instantly helps to quickly build a track and avoid getting mired in drum selection. I didn't used to enjoy sampling as much as I do now; when I started making music I thought it was more important to try and make your own sound as much as possible, rather than copy wholesale from the rather overused stock of musical tropes just for the sake of it. I feel that there's a danger of unintentionally pushing music into ghettos of stock sounds and in effect homogenising a genre into very specific sounds, though with the wide talent of drum and bass artists these days there's a happy balance of sampled loops and their own drum arrangements that brings the best of both worlds. Reso is a great example of this, though I suspect that having a background as a drummer would be a real help in this case.

Anyway, stick the Mixcloud on and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!