Saturday, June 25, 2011

SKY-I vs. No Dough Dub - "Send Them" ft. Micah Dubreuil
Lyrics by Emilien Deschamps
Produced & Arranged by Scott Dough
Engineered & Co-Produced by Kyle Lesley
["Dub Fi Gwan" riddim]
Sky-I, immersion in Jah light
Recorded at the Playground studio A in San Francisco, "Send Them" overlaps multiple styles but if I had to categorize the song I'd describe it as a Nu-Roots/Dub track, voiced by Sky-I. From an inspirational standpoint we reached way back. Borrowing from the forefather of dub, Osbourne "King Tubby" Ruddock, the "Dub Fi Gwan" (1975) riddim's low-fi dub soundscape and esoteric train beat contrasted nicely with the conscious world music singer's positive vibes.

The vocal tracking session with Sky-I went about as smoothly as you could have hoped, dude's a consummate professional, came in polished; and in a little under three hours we had tracked the lead vocal, multiple harmonies and assembled a comp that ended up being pretty close to the final version. Full marks to Kyle Lesley for his efficiency (which did not come at the cost of cutting any corners) and co-producing enthusiasm during this recording. 

Micah Dubreuil of Con Brio           photo credit
Session got real heavy when Micah Dubreuil of Con Brio made a cameo appearance on the Hammond M-3 and added some sweet decorative touches via the melodica. Con Brio are chock full of awesomness and much like their entire lineup, Micah is an extraordinarily talented cat. Lately in the studio, I find that as much as I want to watch some of these heavies, most of the time I won't let myself; it's akin to not talking to a pitcher during a no-hitter (as if a glance from me is going to derail some badass from properly shredding.) So I just kick back and listen, as it should be.

Kyle Lesley - Dub Practicioner
In addition to being a supremely talented audio engineer and diverse musician, Kyle Lesley can now add 'dub practitioner' to his already impressive resume. VersaKyle's dub guitar stylings were the proverbial icing on the cake. Mmmmm...cake.
I had been tinkering with what was initially intended to be a Tubby tribute instrumental but thought there was a fair amount of room in there for someone like Sky-I to do his thing. Hope we did the dub justice, King.

The single is due for commercial release 7/7/11.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amha Baraka vocal tracking 2/25/11
No Dough Dub (feat. Amha Baraka & VersaKyle)
"Don't Accept Wooden Nickels" [dub]
Produced by Scott Dough
Engineered by Kyle Lesley

Don't Accept Wooden Nickels (dub) feat. Amha Baraka & VersaKyle by No Dough Dub

Amha Baraka - heartbreaker, money-taker
Hatched at the former Thrasher Magazine vert ramp warehouse studio, “Don’t Accept Wooden Nickels” features prolific rasta frontman and World Studios co-founder Amha Baraka. It was a great thrill to learn that we’d be collaborating with a gifted vocalist whose been blessed with a rich tenor. An added bonus to the equation was the opportunity to once again work with engineer/producer Kyle Lesley, who also contributed some understated yet real sweet two-tone guitar stylie to the dub.
Kyle Lesley & Amha Baraka
Baraka has broad range;  so we stretched things out a bit and within a reasonable amount of time  were able to multi-track some rad 4-pt. harmonies for the hook (he gives decent freestyle too, which was tucked in beneath the mix). Kyle scratches the tasty two-tone guitar stylings, as well as the ancient Roland whomp box synth riffing inside that first minute.

A capella vocal of the hook with the instrumental dropping to a headphone bleed at the outro was all Kyle. Fun stuff. 

"Let's Get Sued" (Dream Merchant mix)
Composed & Arranged by Scott Dough
Engineered by Dan Menapace

Marimba is making a big comeback. I'm kidding. In all seriousness, I have always wanted to incorporate it into a composition but never saw a sensible approach until recently -- then Marimba became the approach and the entire dub is centered on it, which ties in with my creedo of creating/performing most of what's on the flavor palette (e.g., loops/samples, content derived from my own live playing that I borrow from later). Not dissing the Kontakt folder or sampling in general, I often dive in there. 

"Soundtweaker" Dan Menapace's Sonor/Edirol rig
As for the marimba, I am far from well-versed on the instrument, though I have grown more comfortable with double mallet grip and can coax a decent range of flavors from it: Caribbean to Far-East-tinged staccato.

Without intending to, Sonor extraordinaire and all around nice guy Hamburger Dan and I tracked a song that has no electric (or acoustic or bass) guitar. The indignant musician/bassist in me felt dirty.

But there we were.

Marimba crafted in St. Thomas
The natural wood marimba’s melodic yet percussive timbre is tonally pleasing on its own acoustic merits. And before collaborating with Dan Menapace, I’d never have thought you could get so much range out of the instrument. DM's 'Soundtweaker' handle is highly appropriate -- the swooshing wah-wah soundscapes and oscillating tones both originate from the marimba. Same for the reverse-feedback trickery fingered in post-. These textures were simply isolated mallet hits EQ’d with a high pass filter then some stereo-delay added to sweeten it up. Comparatively speaking [other than the opening/underlying ambient keyboard drone] there is very little synth on this track, giving birth to what I'll term organic electronica.

The final :40 seconds or so of "Let's Get Sued" is a flourish of slick instrumentation weaved over top of relentless jungle-dnb drumming, which results in some almost Donald Fagen-esque riffing (at least I thought so!) with the elec. piano, marimba and tenor sax interplay cruising into the fade.