science bastards

8 October, 2011

Handsome Boy Modeling School – The Songs, Holy Calamity

Filed under: Authoritative Music Reviews, Drums, Tiki Fulwood — sciencebastards @ 10:17 pm

“Holy Calamity” comes to the rescue just as the album seems to have gone into a total slumber.  Track number eight comes after six songs that roll along at a reasonably slow rate, saved only by “Waterworld”.  There are so many good bits to this song, it seems tough to think of where to focus.

The very first thing you will notice is not just a marked jump in the excitement level compared to the previous few tracks however, it is the drum beat.  One thing missing from the days of heavy sampling is beats like this.  For some reason, a drum machine is totally incapable of replicating really good beats.  Maybe it has something also to do with the difference between recorded drums and drum machine drums.  This goes beyond Hip-Hop even but in this day and age, drum machines and a just a generalized standardization of drumming styles.  Twenty or so years ago, people would search for the most insane drum tracks to set their songs apart.  Reminds me of  the late, great Tiki “Sugarfoot” Fulwood of Funkadelic:

Now, it isn’t just the drum track itself here, whoever sliced it up and put it together didn’t just take a piece and repeat it over and over as a basic backing track.  The sample is itself pulled apart and repeated so brilliantly that it’s almost made into its own instrument, like the sample itself is its own drum set and its being played like an instrument.  That sounds goofy but it’s totally the case.  The effect is almost like it’s being scratched like a record.  I suppose you are meant to think it is someone scratching but I’m fairly certain it’s done digitally.

Scratching brings me to point number two about this track.  It seems minor but the scratching tracks are laid a few thick on top of one another here but they all fit the beats well, even the part where the messing with the beat messes with the tempo.  Whoever put this together made something relatively simple yet incredibly satisfying.

Point the last here is to drive a concept home that I made in a previous post.  This is that this song contains very little in the way of lyrics.  There is the main bit which is yelled over and over and some extraneous rapping here and there but most of that is scratched too, making it seem like a backing bit to the rest of the song.  This lack of lyrical content doesn’t necessarily enhance the song but it does absolutely nothing to hold it back either.

Easily my favorite track on the album.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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