Monday, March 28, 2011

"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) 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. 

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