Tag Archives: Sampling

Artist Feature: Pat Messy

Pat Messy | Photo by Will Urbina

Pat Messy | Photo by Will Urbina

Reflection is that mental place where you try to put an answer to why things are the way they are, why things happen the way they do. Response is what you choose to do with that understanding, how you choose to react, what you choose to give back.

– Pat Messy

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

PM: I was born and grew up in Santa Cruz, CA, been up in Oakland for some years. Right now I am in a place called Elevation.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

PM: A lot haha. I think reflection is the process of trying to make sense of what’s going on all around us. It’s that mental place where you try to put an answer to why things are the way they are, why things happen the way they do. Response is what you choose to do with that understanding, how you choose to react, what you choose to give back.

How does your music fit in with that definition?

PM: My music is my response to the frequencies of life. I try to capture what I see in the world and in the people around me, reflect it off what I hear in my head and feel in my gut, then somehow translate it into rhythm and rhyme. As far as the musical side of things, I do a lot of sampling (not just loops tho). I like to listen to music, so I listen to records for timbres and tones, little musical chops that inspire me to create. For example, on Skeleton Key, the entire melody was taken from a single 1/16th note from an old funk record. The tone of the note they hit had me bugged so I chopped it, spread it out over my keyboard and played a brand new melody and progression. To the point that you can’t recognize the original sample. I try to do that with my sample work, reflect on the music before me and respond in a way that transforms it into something new and fresh.

With The Elevation LP, I really created from a reflective place, it’s pretty much the stories and experiences that I wanted to share from my formative years. The songs I like to write are usually conceptual. I don’t really sit around brainstorming things to write about. I just write, and then what I need to write about emerges in the process. I try to focus in on that subject, communicate my learning and understanding that I get through reflection and giving these thoughts attention. All my songs go thru a lot of editing and reworking to stay on topic. I have a song about being hungover. I have a song about chasing skirts. I have a song about losing my mother after a long battle with cancer. I’m all over the place!! I tried to create a personal record that is accessible, like hey, this is what I’ve been dealing with, this is what I’ve learned, if you can learn something about yourself or the world around you by listening to my records then I’ve done my job.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Eric Medina

Eric Medina nos muestra las posibilidades expansivas de la música. Explorando varias facetas de Rap, Eric mueve desde el estudio al esenario con paradas en el DJ booth en el intermedio. Este artista Madrileño ha encontrado una forma melódica de reducir la velocidad del mundo caótico que nos rodea y enfocar en el presente. Abajo Eric nos abre a su mundo y explora Reflexión y Respuesta y también comparte sus various proyectos, inlcuyendo su grupo ESTAFA y High Standing, trabajo en Headroom Estudios, un libro-cd en collaboración con el poeta Julio Reija, y muchas iniciativas más. ¡Damos la bienvenida y le pasamos el micro a este hombre del renacimiento del hip-hop!

Eric Medina represents the wide expanse of possibilities in music. Eric explores various facets of Rap from the studio to stage with stops at the DJ booth in between. This Madrid-based artist uses this melodic art form to slow down the chaotic world around us and focus on the present. Below Eric goes in on Reflection and Response and welcomes us to his world while discussing his various projects including his groups  ESTAFA and High Standing, work in Headroom Studios, an audiobook in collaboration with poet Julio Reija, and much much more. Without further aidieu let’s pass the mic to this Renaissance man of hip-hop!

Eric Medina

Para mi la reflexión es un ejercicio de análisis, de tomar aire y pararse pensar en que has hecho, a dónde querías llegar con tus acciones y dónde has llegado realmente. Digamos que es un momento de quietud ante tanta velocidad que nos rodea.

To me, reflection is an exercise in analysis, taking a moment to think about what you’ve done, where you wanted to get as a result of your actions, and how far you’ve actually made it. I’d say it’s a quiet moment amidst all the chaos around us.

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

EM: Pues para empezar, vengo y estoy en Madrid y vengo y estoy en el Hip Hop.

Soy productor, dj y técnico de sonido. Me gusta la ironía, la profesionalidad, el buen humor y atrapar el talento de los demás en mis grabaciones.

EM: I’m originally from – and currently live in – Madrid, and I come from – and am currently in – Hip Hop.

I’m a producer, DJ, and sound engineer. I like irony, professionalism, good humor, and capturing other artists’ talents through my recordings.

Eric Medina


Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

EM: Para mi la reflexión es un ejercicio de análisis, de tomar aire y pararse pensar en que has hecho, a dónde querías llegar con tus acciones y dónde has llegado realmente. Digamos que es un momento de quietud ante tanta velocidad que nos rodea.

Y una respuesta lo veo como una solución ante una situación. 

EM: To me, reflection is an exercise in analysis, taking a moment to think about what you’ve done, where you wanted to get as a result of your actions, and how far you’ve actually made it. I’d say it’s a quiet moment amidst all the chaos around us.

I see response as a solution to a situation.

Eric Medina

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your art fit in with that definition?

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Patchwork: Jade Eyes

Patchwork: Jade Eyes

Jade Eyes

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us / These jade eyes  (x4)

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us/ One mind we design our own island/ Or so I thought as I thrust my paw on her/ Didn’t think that I could do her such dishonor/ Back away and I nod my head/ These pretty lights can really play and they’re rocking it/ And these kids eat it up like Lox and spread/ As the clock is lost and we forget our beds/ The jade eyes stay with me and I see her/ Kissing on the dude who arrived in the beamer/ Guess I had weak pop tonight Elisa Steamer/ The jade just caught the light and all disappears/ But she stays florescent cold as December in this northern state that’s the greyest in the hemisphere/ Just like lemmings I follow the trap/ Wonder if she gets off on withholding that vag because

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us / These jade eyes (x4)

Contradiction many been up her blouse/ But my fingers are some splinters she can do without/ This week’s been weak grime and grout/ Games every day every way tagged out/ But I’m glad for the no’s the strep and the colds/ The effect of the soul/ Is it’s left invincible/ Try me all you want these jade eyes still haunt me/ Thought if I got her I’d find some sense of belonging/ After the show all filed out to rides home/ Chose to feign fatigue said peace to the folks/ Got home restless with the image in my mind/ Of her curves her shirt and her perfect jade eyes/ And I dealt with it the only way I know how/ With the guitar and drums turned up way too loud/And as all else slept and tired of the bass/ In it’s beautiful hum I found a place

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us / These jade eyes (x4)

Jade Eyes is another classic original track from P. A deep story that’s woven through dope rhymes, wordplay and guitar. The hook on this track has always stuck with me – To me, P’s words and delivery in these lines express the core of what this song is about. Using acrylic paint on 4 rectangular pieces of plexiglass, I created Patchwork: Jade Eyes. I approached this project like a “sampling” project, chopping up the words from the hook into the different panes of plexiglass to create another flexible hook that expresses the original meaning in a new way…

Reflection and Response.

V.

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Patchwork: Untitled

Untitled 

Untitled is classic V- Attention to detail that conveys texture, feeling, and meaning. For me piece’s lines stretch into the past and demonstrate the power of Legacy.  For Patchwork Untitled I delved deep into the LIFESTYLE sample archives and found a track that V and I recorded back in the basement sessions at my parents house on Rose St, in Berkeley. Both the drums and the “organ” are from that period. The “organ,” is a sampled instrument from an early electric guitar part of mine.

Family/Generations.

Patchwork Untitled

Patchwork Untitled Acapella


One two three four

Everyday comes from 10,000 more

The family continues all through the lineage

Every single present’s connect to past millions

He stares head down/But no frown instead a smile/Imagines his seed’s achievements in miles away from where he toils each day/The night creeps up/He pees out green stuff/ This is enough/His shoulder gets bolder with every strike/No Folgers to ward off the latest of nights/This is today as the story I write/If it wasn’t for his spade/I wouldn’t have life/The present conditions are results of/Past decisions resolve so tough/That agrarian servant/Perhaps it was urban/ past pain joins today’s hurting/It’s all a current/As together we go/Lonliness lost in the family scrolls/Handed down from places so cold/Details forgot/But the struggle is known

One two three four

Everyday comes from 10,000 more

The family continues all through the lineage

Every single present’s connect to past millions

And they join together 1, 2, 3,4/Fists in the distance/Can still see more/ Moving tide/ Forever’s fact of life/Many times passed the mic/This story is ageless/This laptop was once pages/Before sound was translated/It was written in each language/Learned from the cave wall statements/This shit goes out to the Angulies and Mullers/And the names of my blood that time covers/And your people too/Generations of truth is the reason we get through current disputes/Smiles in the face of the burning sun/He’s got that ticket/Sister waits for him to come/ 200 years after the fact his offspring’s success validates sweat of the past

One two three four

Everyday comes from 10,000 more

The family continues all through the lineage

Every single present’s connect to past millions

Reflection and Response

-P

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The Last Throwback December: Livin on the West Coast and YarraY

This December/January throwback series has been a look back to the early days of our creativity. We thank everybody that has been riding with us, and we hope that other artists might want to look back on their collections and see their Reflection and Response in progression.

Livin on the West Coast, made earlier than YarraY, was from late 2005. Livin starts with a wah-wah guitar intro with V’s signature driving keyboard elements and baseline and goes into a lead section with some distortion. We toy with using different pickup settings on the guitar for the chorus, with the first part of the chorus sounding more muffled and bassy then the full pickup second half. The track then turns into a synth string mash-up with distorted guitar, a style that appears on other tracks (see taquito). This track shows how we were incorporating various styles, including but not limited to hip-hop and rock, into our arrangements.

Livin on the West Coast

YarraY was an initial foray into sampling. One of our favorite artists ais Ray Charles. For the first part of the track, we took the chord structure and melody from Ray’s Unchain My Heart. While the first half of our track follows a bluesy vibe, we change it up when we bring in  Don’t Set Me Free and throw some synth and 808-drums. We then slow it down at the end of the track as it fades into the future.

YarraY

 

Reflection and Response.

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Lonesome Road Goodnight

I started this track in Argentina. A choir at the school I was studying abroad at sang this haunting tune about a lonesome road and I immediately thought it needed to be sampled. I found the original James Taylor version. Then I forgot about the idea for two years. Last week here in Madrid I found the half finished beat and remembered how fun it was to make. I feel like the song is about redemption and has a sense of teaching, so I wrote lyrics based on those ideas.

Full Track

Instrumental

Acapella

Lonesome Road Goodnight.

Please jettison stress/ this is what is waiting up ahead/ And just reflect / And work even harder on success/The fuck I used to give I now use to live/ Walking that lonesome road  a little kid hope andsin / stoked on the stoogie that we smoked   with a fifth in that glass bottle outside the doors we slipped/ Andthese roll models dip and throw strikes/  Before those open mics/ way before we know whats tight/ The brain evolves slowly right/

Yea fuck it/ You know what you need to do/ I believe in me so you should believe in you/ Believe in peace/ please believe that it’s true/ And stay in your feet and never use those knees to stoop/ Take that grease from your grandparents stereotyped/ He’s Italian which means their not marrying right/ Mediterranean not enough white but they prefer a lovely life/ Say goodbye to the lonesome road with a daily kiss goodnight/

Reflection and Response

-P

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Flute Beats

The LIFESTYLE has been a place of collaborations. One of my favorite projects has been recording over the years with my cousin Rachel Ballister. Rachel has played flute for years and when my family would go to Los Angeles (Lomita!) to visit them, I’d bring out the laptop and we’d get something together.

Flute Beat 1:

Here I sample Rachel doing some warm ups from her classical book. This was our first callabo from 3 or 4 years ago.

Lomito Burrito

This track started as a chord progression I came up with on the guitar and Rachel and I worked in her melody, which she wrote. Then myself, her, and her sister Sarah all recorded a hand clap. At the very end we got a little off and you can hear Sarah saying “Sorry!” on the record.

Xylophone:
This track was a collaboration through time and space. I recorded a zylaphone part at a church in Seattle where the homie Clarke had a practice space set up. Then on a family vacation in LA I asked Rachel if she wanted to play on the track. Her part really helped out the verse. I finished up the track in Spain in September 2011. The sample at the end is part of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. The sample appears around 0: 50 in the Whitney track.

Reflection and Response

-P

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Middle Men

Middle Men is inspired by the film of the same name.

The beat is a sample of Angolan-Spanish artist Mila Domingos’s “A Minha Måe da Alma,” and “Necesito Un Trago,” by Spanish band Tequila.

I came across these two tracks by finding two random cd’s here in my apartment in Spain. I guess they were just meant to be mixed.

Instrumental

Full Track


Middle men these middle men/ Have you seen the film is that car real that house he’s living in/These girls are really thin/ Waist non existent/ Straight shooter dude finances vixins/ Every day’s Christmas/ For five years/ Then the fed follows him/ Stress is so near/ Bought his wife every dress/ Her eyes blessed with the cross with diamonds so clear/ House on a hill these designers appear/ Style of queens suddenly here/ Coat of arms  with a picture of the farm/ That her father built with arms/ In the Texan marsh  atop a steer / Now she parks her Benz by the mark/ That says St. Johns mother of the year / Lifestyle of the rich and aimless/ Gain everything through bank statements/ he’s stone cold no more late payments/ middle class man’s made it

I bet he never gave a fuck

And that attitude it attains so much

And then that porn star girl friend becomes  reality/ The screens a better place for fantasy/ fallicaly satisfied his mind isn’t/ Erection’s easier than to get the mind lifted/ He finds her stricken between guys a party where clothes are forbidden/ And decides there’s a limit

This hottie’s true nature forever apparent/ Remembers being a family man and a damn good parent/ Turns out he’s cool with the feds/ His products helps to send rockets to terrorists/ So the bureau tells him get out no issue, he made millions/ Off us lubiderm and tissues/ Millions off lust use computers to live through/ These actors whose dicks cruise through tits it’s a refuge/ For the lonely and sad/ Until I realized porno’s is something we all grab

I bet he never gave a fuck

And that attitude it attains so much

Reflection and Response

-P

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Argentina Thursdays: Solitude!

This track was so fun to make. In addition to doing research on folk music (see “Things a Peña Does below”), and making tracks with folk musicians, during my Argentina study abroad I also played in a super fun band: Harold and the Gauchos. I had the pleasure of playing with a super awesome vocalist in Claudia Rojas.

The track I’m showcasing today is called “Solitude!,” and I sample Allen Toussaint’s track of the same name.

While I chopped the sample and made the beat Claudia came up with some fitting lyrics and an awesome melody.

Solitude’s just you and me/With you my friend/ I feel so free

In my solitude I’d rather be/With you my dear/ I feel so free

Solitude’s just you and me/ With you my friend/ I feel so free

In my solitude I’d rather be/ With you my dear I can be me

Solitude I think of you baby when I’m in my room singing Ella tunes

Solitude I love you babe I want you forever more knocking at my door

Solitude’s just you and me/With you my friend/ I feel so free

Solitude I think of you baby when I’m in my room singing Ella tunes

Solitude I love you babe I want you forever more knocking at my door

Reflection and Response

-P

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