“Demos and Our Bright Reflections”
(following Beati Paoli’s songs from inception to adulthood)
here’s the demo:
this is the first track from the first full length – “A Sense Of Urgency” (buy it here or on itunes). this album was initially started way back in december of ’06, when we began slowly (very, very slowly) recording bits and pieces of songs that we had previously written or were currently working on. i don’t remember exactly when this song was introduced to the band, but i feel like it was within the first 1o or so songs we worked on.
the demo, like most of the early songs, was written and recorded by uciel on a digital 4-track. he then gave it to greg, who worked up some vocal arrangements. from there, it was laid out for ryan and myself to have our way with. as you can hear, the basic structure never changed, but many things were added, driving the song in a MUCH different direction than where it was originally headed.
the recording of this song started, like usual, with the drums. i can’t remember what mics we had at the time, so i won’t talk about mic placement or anything, however, i do remember that this is one of the tracks from a session where i refused to mic the toms. because of this, the drum mix obviously focused on overheads and room mics. the drums were played, multiple times, start to finish along to a predetermined click track. interestingly enough, after all the effort, there’s only one section of the song where we actually kept the real drums.
i’m assuming the next thing to be laid down would have the bass, as that’s how we did most of the album. we would get the bass and drums really tight and then layer everything on that foundation. guitars would have been next, and i don’t know the effects chains for any of these parts, as i didn’t play any of them (you’d have to ask ryan and cecil), but all said and done, we probably have 5 or 6 rhythm guitar tracks going on. greg then recorded the vocals on top of all this. we have two vocals going on the verse, paned to the left and right, with a handful of effects on each. again, most of this was done on the fly without a lot of planning, so i don’t have notes about what effects in what order. i will try and do better with my note taking in the future!
i know that the solo on the bridge was added later, as there was never originally a solo there. ryan came up with it one day while listening to an initial rough mix and we threw it in cuz it sounds rad. he also wrote and recorded a couple of cello parts for bridge. and speaking of the bridge… that’s the one place where we kept the original, live drum part. however, i ran it through the vocoder of a microkorg which i had programmed. i also manipulated it in real time to make it more interesting.
the rest of the drums were later programmed using multiple instances of fxpansion’s BFD. the beat is almost identical to the live version, just not actually live, and some of the verse drums were run through effects. i can’t remember the chain, but obviously there’s some delay and filters. i think i tried another vocoder as well.
at this point, we could have been done… but NO! ryan stole a giant old box fan from his parents and we sampled it, processed it, and layered it at the beginning and end of the tune, along with some other machinery and noise. we also used battery to put in some samples of marching and metal pipes during the chorus. you know… the usual.
The Soul Assassins were a crew of hip-hop artists under the guidance of Cypress Hill’s DJ/producer, Muggs. The main groups associated with Soul Assassins were Cypress Hill, House of Pain and Funkdoobiest. All three groups consisted of the following line-up: a lead MC that rapped 90% of the time, a useless 2nd MC that just repeated lines here and there, and a DJ. All three groups incorporated their ethnicity into their image and lyrics, even if it wasn’t always necessarily true. Cypress Hill has always been presented as a Hispanic group but Muggs himself is a NYC Italian. House of Pain’s DJ Lethal is LATVIAN! not Italian.
All of the beats were either by Muggs, the group’s DJ’s, or a dude named T-Ray, but they were all in Muggs’ style. This situation reminds me of the old days of Image Comics when guys like Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld would hire up and coming artists and make them draw just like Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld. House of Pain and Funkdoobiest each released 2 albums before they tired of Muggs basically being in charge of their albums and left Soul Assassins. Other artists, including Fatal, The Whooliganz and Call o’ Da Wild joined Soul Assassins but none of them could secure record deals. In 1997, Muggs released a solo album under the Soul Assassins name, featuring heavy hitting MCs of the day like RZA and Dr. Dre. In the end, this proved to be the last good Soul Assassins album, as Cypress Hill became lame only a year later with synthesizer beatz. Still, the Soul Assassins albums from 1991-1997 are all very good and represent an interesting period in hip-hop.
"Being Strangled" b/w "Us Mere Mortals" (02/08/11)
"Billy and the Black Spot Under an Ugly Moon" (01/11/11)
"Radio Prohibidas" b/w "Never Know" (01/11/11)
"Merry Christmas (Don't Forget To Write)" (12/25/10)
"I'll Take The Bullet For You" b/w "Zenith/Nadir" (12/14/10)
"Warholism (Is Polaroiding)" b/w "Among The Saints" (11/09/10)
"Frantic Prayer" b/w "Kicking The Tires" (10/12/10)
"Gravitational Collapse" b/w "Carcinogenic Kiss" (9/14/10)