View Full Version : Studio As An Instrument

10-11-2015, 11:42 AM
Songs, or bits of songs, where studio techniques contribute something completely new to the sound, rather then just enhancing it.

Obviously in in the last three decades it's become increasingly difficult to distinguish between the 'studio' (or DAW) and the traditional notion of an instrument, but I'll leave that to your discretion.

I'll kick things of with the first 10 minutes Miles Davis 'Go Ahead John'. Teo Macero pans the drums throughout and what he does to the guitar solo (starting at 6.30) is fantastic.


10-11-2015, 03:47 PM
Wow that's incredible

Big Fun is one of the Miles of that era I've slept on, for some reason. Think I only have it taped on a cassette.

10-11-2015, 03:52 PM
Not sure if this fits your definition, but I think whatever's being done to the bass on this track - delay? - is pretty remarkable. There was nothing like this before, but also not really anything like it after.


10-11-2015, 04:06 PM
Im not in Love by 10cc has to be the ultimate.

10-11-2015, 06:10 PM
This Heat- 24 Track Loop, sounds like flanger on the drums. Very nice at 4.43:


10-11-2015, 06:51 PM
Tape loops and samples played backwards:

Funkadelic- Eulogy & Light


Ragga Twins- Paro 69 (sounds a bit like Smells Like Teen Spirit)


Lethal B- Backwards


10-11-2015, 06:53 PM
Incredible String Band- Invocation uses a thing called a voice sitar.


10-11-2015, 07:57 PM
That sound on '24 Track Loop' is harmoniser - presumably the same Eventide Harmonizer as used by Tony Visconti on Low.

he sold it to Bowie and Eno by claiming that "it fucks with the fabric of time". which is a bit of an exaggeration but it does all that pitchshifting / speeding up without changing tempo stuff that Goldie would do on "Terminator".

10-11-2015, 08:08 PM
With the same machine no less.

10-11-2015, 08:09 PM
Re Miles, here's Joe Zawinul:

“After the Bitches Brew sessions Miles took me home in a limousine, and I didn’t say anything. He asked, ‘Why don’t you say anything?’ and I said, ‘Because I didn’t like what we just recorded.’ We had played a lot of stuff that was OK, but I was not impressed. Several months later I walked into the CBS offices, and through some closed doors I heard some enormous, fantastic music. I asked ‘Wow, what is that?’ and a secretary replied, ‘Well, Mr. Zawinul, that’s you playing with Miles on Bitches Brew!’”

11-11-2015, 12:43 PM
Dillinjah- Silver Blade


High pass filters and phaser (?) on the drums. Credit has to go to Boymerang as some of the drums are sampled from Soul Beat Runna.


And while we're on the subject, Alex Reece flanging some 808's (?) on his remix of Model 500's 'Flow':


11-11-2015, 12:56 PM
RE, the making of Soul Beat Runna:

You'll have to throw your mind back to a time before computers were audio-manipulators, to when everything was hand-made in a hardware sampler, and the computer was merely a MIDI sequencer.
The gear at the time consisted of:
Atari ST running Cubase
Emu E4 - 16 outs
Roland JV1080
Boss SE50
Mackie SR24:4
Sony Portable DAT
...and that was pretty much it!
Step 1: got the original Amen Break, played at original speed, and hand-chopped it in the E4 up into *every* constituent hit, including tiny-tiny flams etc etc.
Step 2: sequenced all the fragments, moving the pieces by the tiniest of amounts, so they played identically time-wise to the original.
Step 3: Using the timing refs from step 2, replaced all
the sounds (still at old skool original tempo). Only rule was no sound could come from a break that I'd heard already used. You can probably spot at least a JV ride in there.
Step 4: Kept engineering different layers of background noise etc etc, til it sounded "new but old", at least to me.
Step 5: Resampled the whole break to DAT, then dumped it back to the E4.
Step 6: Replay back at sped up DnB speed to check for tone and vibe etc. Usually this would then involve going back to Step 3.
Step 7: CHOP CHOP CHOP - one new break to use!

Hehe, it sounds like an easy operation written like that, but honestly, it was fucking time consuming. Probably took a week or two til I was happy. I was so happy when I started hearing others using it, starting with Dilinja's Silver Blade, as I'd left a couple of free bars of just the break in the track so it could grabbed.

15-11-2015, 10:52 AM
David Essex- Rock On


Delay on the bass sounds like the slap back delay used on vocals in the 50's. A nice instance of the 50's revivalism of the glam-era creating something new.

16-11-2015, 10:31 PM
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17-11-2015, 02:04 AM
RE, the making of Soul Beat Runna:

that is the nerdiest thing I have ever read

19-11-2015, 08:53 PM
that Tomorrow song is one of my favorite things ever - insanely exciting

yes very much studio / technology deployed to make your ears boggle - the backwards guitars, the hi-hats like light-streaks, the shifting in the stereo field ..... bass moving around strangely..... and the bit at the end when it sort of goes into reverse and whooshes up and away

imagine what it must have felt like this to hear these sounds, these effects for the first time, coming through the offshore pirates, your ear pinned to your transistor radio!

who produced it? ah Mark Witz. he didn't anything else like this did he...

that tune only got to like no 41 or something in the charts - don't know why it wasn't a massive hit - i guess there was just so much going on in 1966/67 (see Jon Savage's new book)

but there is only "My White Bicycle", right? I mean - Tomorrow didn't do anything else anywhere near as amazing, i don't think

19-11-2015, 09:22 PM
that is the nerdiest thing I have ever read


You need to stay in more.

23-11-2015, 07:00 PM
So did those jungle producers back in the day all have copies of Amen Brother that they were sampling their amen breaks from, or were you able to buy CDs or floppy discs or whatever that had a bunch of breaks on them that you could sample and chop up?

23-11-2015, 07:59 PM
Break LPs, hip hop 12"s (most amens were 2nd or 3rd gen), occasionally floppies if you knew the right people. Often just from other jungle records.