Sunday, January 18, 2009

Small Metal Objects: Has-Lo's Critical Breakdown Part II

True to his word, Has-Lo has made good on his promise to bring the sequel to a piece he wrote for us a couple of months ago. As in the previously posted confession session, Lo sheds light on the thought processes, techniques, and original songs he flipped on his ingenious Small Metal Objects EP. Hopefully you caught the first episode, but if not, you should most definitely get busy on your homework, kid.

This time around, he schools us on the science behind my favorite track on SMO, "The Quiet Things" (a song that climbed to an impressive #4 on
WYDU's Top Tracks Of 2008). Although I've kept that joint on heavy rotation since the first time I heard it, I couldn't seem to crack the sample (surely you can infer how that frustrated the freakin' hell out of me). I dig more indie-pop records than you'd imagine in your wildest dreams, but for whatever reason, I don't really know shit about Death Cab For Cutie.

Furthermore, I'm not certain I would have foreseen the underlying heat potential in records by a ukulele virtuoso and/or The Carpenters. However, therein lies the very thing that's straight bananas about Lo's artistic vision and production style...dude can make ridiculously dope joints out of source material that most heads wouldn't even consider giving a spin. If that's not the mark of a prodigious beatsmith, I don't know what is.

Anyway, I guess I've already preached to you plenty about the man's impeccable skill set. The rest is on you, children...get Lo.

Keep ya heads up...Scholar

As promised...

I'm back with part 2 of my critical breakdown of Small Metal Objects. You guys seemed to really dig the first one~I apologize for taking so long with the follow up. I appreciate all the comments and love for me and the EP. Thanks again to Scholar...let's get into some more good music!

It only makes sense that I begin this breakdown with the aptly titled "Small Metal Intro". I think this is such a slick opener. It was actually the last track we laid down. Might have been next to last, I'm not sure. Anyway, I came across an mp3 of this song although I've never found a copy of this album. It's rare baby! Back in the day I knew a cat that had it. Sampled a track from that LP for another beat once...super O-fficial, ya'll. Seriously.

So hint hint...if u have the album, let your friend Hassy-Lo get a copy. You ain't usin' it lol. Without further ado, Ohta-san:

"Keeping You Company"---Herb Ohta (LimeLinx)
"Keeping You Company"---Herb Ohta (savefile)

"Small Metal Intro"---Has-Lo (LimeLinx)
"Small Metal Intro"---Has-Lo (savefile)

Next up is "The Quiet Things". A song I think a lot of you can relate to. The story of a failed relationship. It's become a favorite from the EP. I named it that because I felt like the things I was saying were the ugly/beautiful things that you silently suffer with when you're trying to get over someone. The lyrics are (somewhat) oppositional. For every good memory, there is a bad one. Normally I wouldn't sample something so recent. It feels a bit cheesy...but I enjoy this band's music. The loop was so pretty that I had to do it. Also, the point of the EP was to do it without overthinking it, so I just went with it. Turned out that tossing my reservations made for a powerful song. I think this was the first song I wrote for the EP. I didn't really want to have a hook, so I threw the choppy breakdowns in there to add a twist to it. I had jotted down some random thoughts about her and my surroundings. I recorded them and we pushed them into the background and panned them around. Its subtle but it adds some texture.

"Passenger Seat"---Death Cab For Cutie (LimeLinx)
"Passenger Seat"---Death Cab For Cutie (savefile)

"The Quiet Things"---Has-Lo (LimeLinx)
"The Quiet Things"---Has-Lo (savefile)

Can't forget "The Commentary". This one came about as one of those genius afterthought/meant to be moments. It kind of just happened, really. I was looking for rhymes to go over the "Inhuman Interlude" beat. My friend/producer, DeeJay Tone was looking thru some old pro tools sessions. Some were beats, some were just samples. One of those sessions was a sickly soulful guitar affair. I started spitting this rhyme on a whim, just to see how it would sound. After a few bars, Tone just stopped me in my tracks. We both knew. We closed the door and began reworking the track. A short time later I got in the booth and added the last element: The emcee.

"Twilight Zone"---Average White Band (LimeLinx)
"Twilight Zone"---Average White Band (savefile)

"The Commentary Pt. 1"---Has-Lo (LimeLinx)
"The Commentary Pt. 1"---Has-Lo (savefile)

Lastly, the "Small Metal Outro". One thing that I don't feel like I often do is slick intros/outros. I like the idea, but I haven't really had a project that felt like it needed or should have them. This one...well, you know. Me and DeeJay Tone had been diggin' in the crates at some local record shop earlier that day. That was where I came across Close To You by the Carpenters. It's all about dollar bin records, baby. If you like the music, the savings go STRAIGHT to your pockets. The measure of a good record is never in how much it costs. The best and most obscure records are sometimes the cheapest and least cared about. Not that this is obscure, just saying...

So we went back to the crib. I went in the studio, started checking out the records I copped. I caught this little part on my run-thru. I chopped it up a little. Some nice dusty hi-hats, dirty kick and snare combo. A little vocal sample from "Baby It's You" (I was messing with before "Mr. Guder"). A thick bassline finishes this one out. I didn't think about what I would say, I just hopped in the booth and gave some shouts. We played around a bit with the panning. We watched the Eli Porter video countless times. You hear elements of that pop up here as well as other places in the EP, lol. It just goes back to having fun. Music is like sex. Sometimes it's way serious, you're making love. Sometimes you're laughing and it's silly. At times deep in your emotions that afterwards, thoughts of it become painful. All of those things are mixed up in this EP and I hope you have (or will) enjoy it.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. Enjoy these last two joints, then pass the word and keep the music alive...


"Mr Guder"---The Carpenters (Limelinx)
"Mr Guder"---The Carpenters (savefile)

"Baby It's You"---The Carpenters (LimeLinx)
"Baby It's You"---The Carpenters (savefile)

"Small Metal Outro"---Has-Lo (LimeLinx)
"Small Metal Outro"---Has-Lo (savefile)

Has-Lo on MySpace

Download the entire Small Metal Objects EP via rapidshare

Word From Your Moms:

The ink soaks way deep in the page
gatherin' the army
I enlist anybody
Who my words can persuade

~Has-Lo from "The Commentary Pt. 1"


Jos-B said...

Eureka! I was sure the samples in "The Quiet Things" originated from Ben Gibbard's vocal chords, but I couldn't place what Death Cab song they were from specifically for the life of me.

Can't wait for even more stuff from Has...everything I've heard from him has impressed me so far.

rayjuan said...

Love 'The Quiet Things'. Thank you both.

Mookie said...

Hey dope blog want to link up?

Anonymous said...

I downloaded the EP after you aired the first post. Probably one of the best I heard all year. Ngiyabonga.

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