Author Topic: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take  (Read 1230 times)

The Mollusk

  • The answer my friend is blowing in the mind
Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« on: September 12, 2020, 02:31:25 AM »
Fucks sake. Exploring the samples on this record is like getting booted in the head by a horse.

https://www.whosampled.com/DJ-Shadow/What-Does-Your-Soul-Look-Like-(Part-4)/

Honestly, what? That incessant groove is transfixing enough but the layering on this stuff is beyond this world, literally a fucking alien made this album. I do not give a fuck about trip-hop whatsoever but this song makes me just stare at the wall and think


this is it


this is all anyone really knows



where you gonna go from here?






going to bed are you mate?









why don't you try and comprehend about how these three tiny samples could come together and make something five minutes long that would transcend anything you'd ever heard when you were 19 years old and then 14 years later just continue to blow your arse off like it meant absolutely nothing











yeah sleep well dickhead

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 11:22:29 AM »
I'm always impressed with sample-based music that doesn't actually sound like sample-based music. Sometimes I wish the almost-all-samples aspect of Endtroducing wasn't so known about, so it would be easier to listen to it as just a really good album and then later find out about the samples. It can feel like a bit of a "look how well this is put together" exercise knowing how it was made from the off.

Not much of a secret that I'm a Future Sound of London superfan, and Gaz always spoke in interviews about how he considered them collage artists rather than musicians, but it wasn't until obscure stuff started turning up on YouTube and people started pointing out the samples that I realised he was telling the truth - their mid-'90s albums Lifeforms and ISDN are something like 90-95% samples (mostly from other music, but they often actually used snippets of movie foley as loops and such). Which, given just how dense and weird they are, really amazes me.
ISDN is worth a listen.

The Mollusk

  • The answer my friend is blowing in the mind
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 12:14:31 PM »
Christ I was pissed when I started this thread.

Cheers for the link purlz. It might shock and disgust you to learn that I have never knowingly listened to anything by FSOL. Got ISDN on now, really enjoying it.

the

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2020, 12:30:58 PM »
I never heard Endtroducing before I got the special edition, whenever that came out. I appreciated it but I found the mood of it quite sullen and bleak which drove me away from wanting to listen to it. I know I haven't given it a fair crack of the whip, and should give it another go and try and sink into it.

I seem to remember in the booklet that came with it he talks about multitracking it on ADAT, adding bits, mixing it and bouncing it down before continuing.

I'm always impressed with sample-based music that doesn't actually sound like sample-based music. [...] Gaz always spoke in interviews about how he considered them collage artists rather than musicians [...] Lifeforms and ISDN are something like 90-95% samples

Yeah there's a (perhaps understandable) misapprehension that sample-based music consists of using loops and chunks of percussion and note sequences, and arranging those into blocks. Samplers are built to work in a much finer way than that, using small cycling samples like the oscillators in a synthesiser to create wholly new instruments, and starting with the tiniest fragments to end up with huge washes of sound. It's magical how you can capture the character and texture of a moment of sound and paint with it.

And ISDN is my favourite FSOL album.

The Mollusk

  • The answer my friend is blowing in the mind
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2020, 12:52:24 PM »
I never heard Endtroducing before I got the special edition, whenever that came out. I appreciated it but I found the mood of it quite sullen and bleak which drove me away from wanting to listen to it. I know I haven't given it a fair crack of the whip, and should give it another go and try and sink into it.

Nah you'd be right in surmising that it's sullen and bleak. It is a great hulking beast terraforming in a barren landscape, and as pioneering and cool and groovy as it so often is, it's also very gloomy and all-encompassing. The weird vocal cuts peppered throughout, like the Fireman from Twin Peaks and the blurry unintelligible radio transmissions of a man giving numbers/coordinates, properly heighten that mood. Mutual Slump, one of my favourite tracks on the album, prominently features absolutely fucking enormous drums and yet it's totally enveloping and hypnotically dark and mysterious.

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 01:05:59 PM »
This record changed the way I think about music, and like most other people on here I think about music a lot. It came along at the right time for at the tail end of all that indie piss bollocks at the end of 90s.

Always knew it was sampled and it felt impressive at the time, but with all Software you have today which means even a numpty like me can find and cut and paste whatever you can find, It’s hard to comprehend how he put the record together  back in the day on whatever akai it was. Must have been horrible painstaking labour.

I too find it hard to listen to today as it’s a very bleak and dank listen. But it’s still an incredible record.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2020, 01:18:27 PM »
Is what you all are talking about the same as how Paul's Boutique was assembled? I'd be quite interested in that, if so.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2020, 01:36:55 PM »
Yeah there's a (perhaps understandable) misapprehension that sample-based music consists of using loops and chunks of percussion and note sequences, and arranging those into blocks. Samplers are built to work in a much finer way than that, using small cycling samples like the oscillators in a synthesiser to create wholly new instruments, and starting with the tiniest fragments to end up with huge washes of sound. It's magical how you can capture the character and texture of a moment of sound and paint with it.
Yeah, there's certainly a fair amount of more straight forward looping on Endtroducing and in FSOL's stuff, but the magic really lies in taking individual sounds and repurposing them into something very different, and even with the loops, it's taking totally disparate sources and making them sound as if they always belonged together. Nowadays it's fairly easy to find sampleable material, just by whacking a bunch of tracks into a DAW and skimming through to find suitable bits, but the idea of actually just listening to records or films and going "ah, wait, that's the bit!" when you hear a single sound, then going back and recording that exact bit into a sampler and utilising it as a new instrument sounds like such a faff that I can't imagine ever doing it myself, as badaids says. Not when I could just have turned on a drum machine and some synths and made music like that.
Cheers for the link purlz. It might shock and disgust you to learn that I have never knowingly listened to anything by FSOL. Got ISDN on now, really enjoying it.
It's a great album, certainly their darkest and trippiest. It probably sounds the most sample-heavy of all their stuff because of the use of lots of recognisable instruments throughout. The video with the whole of Lifeforms has disappeared from YouTube, but that album's worth a listen because it really fits into the early '90s ambient/ambient techno sound, yet was also made almost entirely with samples, which is just about the exact opposite of how Pete Namlook, Global Communication and the like worked.

the

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2020, 02:01:53 PM »
Is what you all are talking about the same as how Paul's Boutique was assembled? I'd be quite interested in that, if so.

Construction wise, it's a bit more in the direction of this:

using loops and chunks of percussion and note sequences, and arranging those into blocks.

There's a chapter of the Beastie Boys book where they talk about putting the album together at the Dust Brothers house and then wasting tons of money recording it at proper studios when they could've done it all from there. Also I think there was a commentary track released for PB, which I've never heard, but you'd hope there'd be some insight in there.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2020, 02:02:23 PM »
I never heard Endtroducing before I got the special edition, whenever that came out. I appreciated it but I found the mood of it quite sullen and bleak which drove me away from wanting to listen to it. I know I haven't given it a fair crack of the whip, and should give it another go and try and sink into it.

I seem to remember in the booklet that came with it he talks about multitracking it on ADAT, adding bits, mixing it and bouncing it down before continuing.

From what I can remember the main workhorse was an MPC60.

Entroducing is great but I found Psyence Fiction way more accessible.

the

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2020, 02:30:11 PM »
but the magic really lies in taking individual sounds and repurposing them into something very different, and even with the loops, it's taking totally disparate sources and making them sound as if they always belonged together. Nowadays it's fairly easy to find sampleable material, just by whacking a bunch of tracks into a DAW and skimming through to find suitable bits, but the idea of actually just listening to records or films and going "ah, wait, that's the bit!" when you hear a single sound, then going back and recording that exact bit into a sampler and utilising it as a new instrument sounds like such a faff that I can't imagine ever doing it myself,

From my point of view, the way that you describe the process there is sort of upside-down. It's not so much that you're sat there making a tune and you think 'now I need some samples', and then you go to find some songs to get your samples from. It's more that you will have already done a lot of listening and trawling and taken your interesting samples already and saved them (probably to a load of floppy disks). Building your own sample collection is a bit like adding to a bank account that you can dip into. You've already taken your snippets and divorced them from their original contexts, and when you're auditioning those samples you increasingly start to hear those disparate things in adjacency.

Also because samples can sit in that 'account' for a long time, they become familiar in their excerpted format and sit in the back of your mind, leading to moments where you hear one thing in your track and you suddenly think of another thing that can go with it in a certain way.

I think sampling should be personal, that's what makes it distinct when you use it in your own tracks, in your own way. It's not about having gigabyte libraries of prepared stuff that you've downloaded and it's not about frantically jamming big tracts of audio together and bending them to make them work. It's about having a collection of moments that you discovered, which speak to you, and reflect your weird instincts and obsessions. It's a bit like having a second record collection, but one made of sounds and moments rather than songs and artists.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2020, 02:38:57 PM »
That's precisely what Shadow can be seen doing in the documentary Scratch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gpKYnRdf0A

The Mollusk

  • The answer my friend is blowing in the mind
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2020, 02:45:38 PM »
Fuckin great post, the.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2020, 02:59:42 PM »
From my point of view, the way that you describe the process there is sort of upside-down. It's not so much that you're sat there making a tune and you think 'now I need some samples', and then you go to find some songs to get your samples from. It's more that you will have already done a lot of listening and trawling and taken your interesting samples already and saved them (probably to a load of floppy disks). Building your own sample collection is a bit like adding to a bank account that you can dip into. You've already taken your snippets and divorced them from their original contexts, and when you're auditioning those samples you increasingly start to hear those disparate things in adjacency.
Oh, yeah, I didn't mean to suggest it was done on a very conscious level; more that I can't imagine having 'sample radar' turned on all the time, and having to either take note or stop and record every time I hear something interesting. There are dozens and dozens of (mostly sci-fi) films sampled in FSOL's catalogue, and just thinking about the spotting and collecting process of how they did that gives me a headache. I think Gaz once said he never turned that part of his brain off.

the

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2020, 03:16:57 PM »
Oh, yeah, I didn't mean to suggest it was done on a very conscious level; more that I can't imagine having 'sample radar' turned on all the time, and having to either take note or stop and record every time I hear something interesting. There are dozens and dozens of (mostly sci-fi) films sampled in FSOL's catalogue, and just thinking about the spotting and collecting process of how they did that gives me a headache. I think Gaz once said he never turned that part of his brain off.

'Sample radar' doesn't require concentration for me, it's just something that kicks in when something interesting runs past your ear, and you instinctively know that it has a certain quality or that you could use it in a certain way. It's a similar sensation to when you're listening to a song and you suddenly hear a bit that someone's sampled, except now when your ears prick up you're spotting the potential in that moment, rather than spotting its use in another record.

In terms of ballache, going through VHS tapes of things you've taped in the likelihood of them containing good samples is physically not fun, it takes all day if you're sampling as you go. You just have to treat it like putting money in the account.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2020, 08:53:29 PM »
I like that he used "Invisible Limits" by Tangerine Dream rather than everyone else's go to sample "Love On a Real Train"

Better Midlands

  • I'm not internationally known
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2020, 10:10:14 PM »
also made almost entirely with samples, which is just about the exact opposite of how Pete Namlook, Global Communication and the like worked.

everyone else's go to sample "Love On a Real Train"

Just for fun

https://www.whosampled.com/sample/674790/Global-Communication-5-23-Tangerine-Dream-Love-on-a-Real-Train/

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2020, 10:18:13 PM »
I accept it's a great album, but I personally can't get on with this type of music. To me, it absolutely sounds sample-based. Like you can tell the possibilities are really, really limited, just dropping three or four parts in and out, rather than actually evolving those parts or changing anything musically in any way. I keep thinking "can we have a chord change about now?". It may be very clever stitching them together, compared to other music of this type, but I can't stop thinking how it all sounds so limited by the tech. I also really dislike that "sampley" 90s drum sound.

But then again, I like the limitations of aventies synth music, and I'm sure many people think when they hear it: "if they just had better tech/technique, it would actually be in time, and they could have polyphony. And I really hate snares that are just white noise".

So there's no rhyme or reason to what ones likes or doesn't like, really.

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2020, 11:21:39 AM »
I've got a real soft spot for the original source of the main piano riff and wordless aah-ahh-ahh female vocals on Building Steam with a Grain of Salt, Jeremy Storch's I Feel A New Shadow.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgUN_7si84M

I like the relationship between the original and Shadow's track: Shadow's"Building Steam" is cool, slick, controlled, the work of a master of their craft but also,-I realise I'm echoing what Purlieu said, it's kind of second order-music, music that's about music, meta-music. All those speech samples about production and drums, wrapped up in that sleeve depicting a record shop, there's a detatchment about it, a shying away from using music to talk about emotions, relationships, politics, experience. I loved it when I was a teenager because I probably did love records more than people at that time, I'm not so sure now.
By contrast "I Hear a New Shadow" isn't masterful at all- the vocals are amateurish, it's uncomfortably anguished and intense in a way that would make some people class it as outsider art, as a musician he's obvious less talent than DJ Shadow but: it's about facing death, God, hope of an afterlife, more vital or serious human concerns.

Something else I like thinking about: there is an eeriness in the way that thoughts of the afterlife in "I hear a New Shadow" prefigure the song's 'afterlife' in "Builidng Steam'. And in Building Steam the speech sample "the music's coming through me", has a suggestion of songs being received mediumistically from beyond the grave- that speaker is 'recieving' the dying man from "i hear a new shadow"'s voice.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2020, 12:20:02 PM »
Like you can tell the possibilities are really, really limited, just dropping three or four parts in and out, rather than actually evolving those parts or changing anything musically in any way. I keep thinking "can we have a chord change about now?".
To be fair, this is true of a lot of electronic music from the '90s, even stuff that has no samples in it at all.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2020, 12:26:52 PM »
I like it, but I think I prefer some original stuff to be there as well, even if it's captured and sampled and created in the same way.

That's basically what was happening on things like Mark's Keyboard Repair around the same time wasn't it?

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2020, 08:10:48 PM »
To be fair, this is true of a lot of electronic music from the '90s, even stuff that has no samples in it at all.

Yes, true.

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2020, 08:38:43 PM »
The sample of the man talking about parking tickets, for a long time I thought it was George Segal, from some movie. Then til just now I thought it was Lenny Bruce. But it's not it's some fella called Murray Roman.

https://youtu.be/fhFK80q9Tjk

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2020, 08:40:03 PM »
Quote from: wiki
Murray Roman (March 8, 1929 – November 6, 1973) was an American stand-up comedian whose career was cut short by a car crash. Many consider his style, and material, to be similar to Lenny Bruce.

Well I was close then.

shagatha crustie

  • Huff the talbot
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2020, 08:48:57 PM »
I like the relationship between the original and Shadow's track: Shadow's"Building Steam" is cool, slick, controlled, the work of a master of their craft but also,-I realise I'm echoing what Purlieu said, it's kind of second order-music, music that's about music, meta-music. All those speech samples about production and drums, wrapped up in that sleeve depicting a record shop, there's a detatchment about it, a shying away from using music to talk about emotions, relationships, politics, experience. I loved it when I was a teenager because I probably did love records more than people at that time, I'm not so sure now.

Great post. To play devil's advocate, I find 'Building Steam' with its deliberate meta-references acts as a mission statement for the album, but after that, the detachment (as you describe it) becomes a strength of the record. It's so dense and mysterious and atmospheric, but aside from a sort of horror/sci-fi/dark comedy bent, no particular meaning is prescribed. You have to bring yourself to it and make it your soundtrack. Late at night, obviously.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

  • National program director of the chum group
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2020, 02:47:12 PM »
As the text under my avatar suggests, I rather like this album. I don't know about meaning, but it's got mood by the bucketful. To me, it is the sound of Autumn. The Number Song is a stone groove, but its upbeat funkiness does feel a bit out of place among the gloomy atmospherics of the rest of the album.
the blurry unintelligible radio transmissions of a man giving numbers/coordinates, properly heighten that mood.
In case you were interested, that is sampled from John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. (That clip does constitute a major spoiler, but then it's the only good bit of the film anyway).

What's the consensus on Psyence Fiction these days? I always got the feeling that it was looked down upon as a watered down effort, but I've always loved it. I actually heard it years before Endtroducing - I'd read a review in the paper and, despite not feeling compelled to seek it out, when my sister got it that Christmas, I made sure to make a copy for myself. Thanks to the timing, it's always been inextricably linked in my mind with Zelda 64.

The Mollusk

  • The answer my friend is blowing in the mind
Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2020, 03:26:47 PM »
As the text under my avatar suggests, I rather like this album. I don't know about meaning, but it's got mood by the bucketful. To me, it is the sound of Autumn. The Number Song is a stone groove, but its upbeat funkiness does feel a bit out of place among the gloomy atmospherics of the rest of the album.In case you were interested, that is sampled from John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. (That clip does constitute a major spoiler, but then it's the only good bit of the film anyway).

What's the consensus on Psyence Fiction these days? I always got the feeling that it was looked down upon as a watered down effort, but I've always loved it. I actually heard it years before Endtroducing - I'd read a review in the paper and, despite not feeling compelled to seek it out, when my sister got it that Christmas, I made sure to make a copy for myself. Thanks to the timing, it's always been inextricably linked in my mind with Zelda 64.

The Number Song is definitely the "pop hit single" of the album, isn't it?

As a quick aside, when me and my friends first discovered it, they were all big fans of Stem/Long Stem whereas I always thought it was the dud track, just because the super speedy drums are way too messy and amateurish, like someone discovering music production and having a bash at making drum & bass whilst knowing nowt about technique at all.

Re: Psyence Fiction, I recall it being decent enough but I really don't get along with guest vocal spots on electronic (not strictly electronic but you know what I mean) records. I should maybe revisit it though, it's been absolutely yonks.

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2020, 09:54:24 AM »
Yes love this. Though regarding the use of samples on it and sample based music in general, I eventually realised some of my favourite little chunks were stuff from the original sample and not 2 or 3 things spliced together as I expected, and vice versa. Which is probably testament to how well made it is. I like Psyence Fiction as well but never thought it quite worked as well bar a few tracks, mainly because of a style clash with Lavelle, who tended towards rather turgid stuff on the later Unkle records.

Re: Endtroducing is a fucking outlandish and amazing piss take
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2020, 11:29:58 AM »
I like it, but I think I prefer some original stuff to be there as well, even if it's captured and sampled and created in the same way.

That's basically what was happening on things like Mark's Keyboard Repair around the same time wasn't it?

I've always assumed Mark's Keyboard Repair was a collection of demos, recorded pretty conventionally. I know Portishead would create their own samples by writing and recording stuff, pressing it on vinyl and then mucking about with it. The "Hookers and Gin" bit in "Western Eyes" for example.

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