Monday, March 28, 2011

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

Marimba is making a big comeback. I'm kidding of course. Other than a recent Kruder & Dorfmeister binge, I don't really listen to a whole lot of dnb music and up until lately the high-handed musician in me didn't hide the disdain I had for DJs and other *alleged* 'non-musicians'. Just to put it in perspective, I’ve been in a vacuum, musically, and by design haven't listened to... anything(!) in quite some time. so if any of what I’m etching at the moment seems derivative then it's accidental. My formerly close-minded DJ aversion notwithstanding, in this secular environment I still pride myself in performing and creating most of what's on the flavor palette (e.g., loops/samples and/or content derived from my own live playing) -- any knucklehead can twist knobs, or better yet, tell somebody ELSE to do it.
"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 playing double mallets and can coax a modest range of flavors from it: Caribbean, and Far-Eastern-tinged staccato.

Without intending to, we tracked a song that has no electric (or acoustic or bass) guitar. The indignant musician/bassist in me felt filthy 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 originated from the marimba. Same for the reverse-feedback trickery fingered in post-; these textures were simply isolated mallet hits which were EQ’d with a high pass filter, then had some stereo-delay added to sweeten it up. Comparatively speaking, there is very little synth on this track.

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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