WhoSampled presents ‘Digging in the Vaults': Vinyl & Digital Pre-Order Now Available


We are very pleased to announce that 30th March 2015 sees the official release of ‘WhoSampled presents ‘Digging in the Vaults’. Available as 7 track 10″ vinyl or extended 11 track digital album, the release available to pre-order via Bandcamp now!

Release info:

“In Spring 2014, WhoSampled took a group of renowned UK diggers, producers and beatmakers to the vinyl archives of famed library music specialists Imagem, in which resides a complete collection of the highly collectable releases of the Boosey & Hawkes and Cavendish music libraries. Their mission: to excavate rare sample material from which new compositions could be created.

The recordings unearthed at the archive session were made available to 20 up-andcoming producers at ‘Samplethon‘, a unique ‘Hackathon for Music Producers’, at which those producers competed against the clock to create new music based on the archive material. This 2NX release showcases the winning entries produced at the event alongside tracks from the artists who made up the event’s panel of judges and mentors, among them Mark Rae, Mr Thing, Soundsci, Chris Read and My Panda Shall Fly.

Available as both a 10” vinyl EP and digital LP (containing additional tracks), the vinyl release focuses on the more hip-hop orientated tracks from this varied collection.

Artists featured include Soundsci (a group which counts among its members Ninja Tune signings Jonny Cuba and The Herbaliser‘s Ollie Teeba) and BBE’s Chris Read who joins forces with famed Philadelphia record digging aficionado Soulman, recording under his ‘Phill Most Chill‘ moniker. Both deliver brooding vocal tracks, the latter aptly juxtaposing a 70s TV crime series flavoured beat with reflections on America’s current police injustices.

Instrumental tracks come from a pair of UK hip hop legends in the form of former World DMC Champion DJ Mr Thing and seasoned producer Mark Rae (Rae & Christian / Grand Central). Each deliver classic head nod feel alongside infectious instrumental outings from Samplethon winners Danny Drive Thru, Illiterate and Sleepless.

The digital release features a further 4 tracks not available on the vinyl release including a Rhodesy instrumental hip hop cut from Chris Read, intricate sample flips from Jackson Almond and two futuristic interpretations from Soundway and Project Mooncircle’s My Panda Shall Fly, and newcomer Innovance.”

Discover more at www.whosampled.com/samplethon

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Vessel and Inmix Ensemble Perform Live at Tate Britain for Philips x Noisey’s #YNTHT Project

You may recall some months ago we reported the launch of an exciting new collaboration between Philips and Noisey titled ‘You Need to Hear This‘. Encouraging artistic collaboration and innovative use of space, the project pairs musicians and performers with unique locations to deliver one of a kind performances. The latest edition sees Vessel team up with Inmix Ensemble for a live performance at London’s Tate Britain. Filmed exclusively for You Need To Hear This, the following short video captures the collaborative process behind the music and the captivating performance itself:

Discover more about Philips x Noisey ‘You Need to Hear This’ and check out the new Philips Citiscape headphone range here.

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Radiohead – The Bends 20th Anniversary


Today marks 20 years since the release of Radiohead‘s breakout album ‘The Bends’. Though the band shot to fame with their ‘Creep‘ single in 1992 (which has been frequently covered since its release, at least 36 times on record), it wasn’t until ‘The Bends’ that the band begun to garner critical acclaim and respect from independent music aficionados. A pleasant counter-point to the Britpop movement of the time, ‘The Bends’ occupies a unique place in “classic album” territory – it’s considered by many to be one of the last great straight-up ‘Rock’ records before the genre hit stagnation or its major acts (including Radiohead themselves) pursued a different sonic path.  Here we run down some of the most interesting samples of and covers from this now-classic rock album.

Dan-Le-Sac-Vs-Scroobius-Letter-From-God-T-439933Planet Telex - In hindsight, the epic opening track of ‘The Bends’ gently hinted at Radiohead’s future experimentation with electronics and synthetic textures. The recently disbanded UK hip-hop duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip‘s ‘Letter From God to Man’ utilised the pre-verse chords as the backdrop to Scroobius Pip’s poetic and biting lyrical flow, before mashing up the chorus and main hook with the Amen break to create the track’s glorious jungle-esque final minute. Discussing the sample with the BBC around the time of the release of their debut album the duo said; “We were quite devious and used everyone we knew. We knew Rob da Bank was seeing one of their producers so we made sure he had a copy. Then we got this message saying they’re going to have a listen to it.” (Dan Le Sac) “Because it had taken so long, we’d almost thrown in the towel on it……..It [the response] was brief, like ‘You have band approval for this’, but that was enough for me.” (Scroobius Pip)

ronsonJustMark Ronson (in collaboration with Phantom Planet) provided a chart-friendly horn-filled funk cover of ‘Just’ on his 2007 covers album ‘Version’.  A DJ shadow-era UNKLE sampled a brief snippet of the song’s climax on Intro (optional) – a “hidden” track on certain versions of their debut album ‘Psyence Fiction’ (only available by rewinding the first track on certain CD players). Thom Yorke also appeared as a guest vocalist on the penultimate track of that album – the David Axelrod-sampling ‘Rabbit In Your Headlights’.

The_Bends_SingleThe Bends – The title track has been given a thrash make-over by the metal sub-genre leaders Anthrax and was sampled by Massive Attack towards the end of ‘False Flags‘. Thom Yorke and 3D (Robert Del Naja) are known to be good friends and like-minded collaborators, they famously DJed at the London site of the Occupy movement in late 2011 and more recently have scored the film ‘UK Gold’, a documentary about tax avoidance in the City of London.

mr2606_2009831_45355910309Street Spirit (Fade Out)Joe Budden sampled the famously depressing arpeggiated guitar riff from Street Spirit on mixtape track ‘Never Again’. One of the band’s most successful singles (achieving a #5 placing on the UK chart), ‘Street Spirit’ has been re-done by classical piano cover artist and NPR radio host Christopher O’Reily, who has also provided his own take on other ‘The Bends’ tracks ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘Black Star’, ‘Nice Dream’ and ‘Bulletproof… I Wish I Was’. Cringeworthy joke-rock band The Darkness also covered the song on their 2012 record ‘Hot Cakes’.

Words – Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)

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Steve Aoki Crashes the Smirnoff House Party in New Video!


Smirnoff together with Steve Aoki have produced a new video for the DJ / producer’s good times single ‘Born to Get Wild’ featuring Will.I.Am. Catchy vocal hooks from the Black Eyed Peas front man meet stadium EDM for a track which has all the hallmarks of a summer anthem. The accompanying visuals see Aoki performing in the up close and personal environment of #SmirnoffHouse, breaking down the barriers so often present between artist and audience to get among the party crowd… and yes, there is cake! Check out the video below to see Steve share his music with the fans, get down to some partying and even a little skateboarding:



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Top 10 Iconic Drum & Bass / Jungle Breakbeats


It’s hard to believe that of the many Top 10 lists we’ve produced, it’s taken us this long to produce a list relating specifically to drum & bass, a genre the very foundation of which is the sampled drum break. Here we select what we consider to be 10 iconic breakbeats that have defined various moments in the genre’s evolution from early hardcore to contemporary drum & bass, via jungle, techstep and more:

mr72148_201349_2014594652810. DJ Trace & Pete Parsons – Sniper

The first entry on our list is something of a curio in that it is the only breakbeat  featured here to have originated on a drum & bass record. Often referred to as ‘the Tramen’, a name derived from the name of producer, DJ Trace, and ‘Amen‘, the title of one of the constituent breaks used in its creation. The break first appeared on DJ Trace’s ‘Mutant Revisited‘ in 1996, but it is the clean break in the opening bars of the 1999 release ‘Sniper‘ from which others have primarily sampled it. DJ Trace has divulged in interviews that the break was in fact created by Dom of Dom & Roland but became associated with Trace thanks to his early and frequent use of it. The break itself is constructed from elements of three other popular sources: Alex Reece’s remix of Model 500’s ‘The Flow’, James Brown’s ‘Tighten Up’ and of course The Winston’s ‘Amen, Brother’. The break has become a go to source for drum & bass’s darker, techier mutations, usage in collaborations between Trace and both Technical Itch and Bad Company being good examples.

mr2803_20091122_2159292066079. James Brown – Cold Sweat

The first of two appearances for James Brown on our list (four if you include his productions for Lyn Collins and Bobby Byrd), the lengthy breakbeat section from Brown’s ‘Cold Sweat’ is fairly well hidden at 4 and a half minutes into this 7 minute funk work out. With its rolling high hats, the break lends itself perfectly to the rhythmic textures of late 90s drum & bass. Whilst this period arguably delivered some of the break’s more iconic uses (see Roni Size‘s Bristol anthem ‘Brown Paper Bag‘), the break also appears in memorable jungle sides (Ellis Dee’s ‘Big Up Your Chest (Remix)‘) and cuts from the genre’s formative years (Tom & Jerry’s ‘Let Your Spirit Rise’).

mr6095_201135_642234195668. Blowfly – Sesame Street

Blowfly‘s X-Rated comedy take on Sesame Street’s educational song for kids provides a somewhat unlikely source for the drums behind a catalog of classics. Perhaps the most creative use is Deep Blue‘s anthemic ‘The Helicopter Tune‘ in which the drums back an ever pitch-shifting conga loop to create sound patterns reminiscent of passing helicopter blades. The break also famously appears on M-Beat‘s crossover jungle smash ‘Incredible‘ featuring General Levy and another M-Beat classic in the form of the Foster Sylvers samplingStyle‘.

mr9051_2010323_1810162627777. Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm – Funky Mule

The opening drum break from Ike Turner’s ‘Funky Mule’ differs from many breaks on this list in that it was never particularly heavily used in hip hop. Its life as a sample really begins with early hardcore (see uses in both ‘Menace‘ and ‘Believe‘ by Goldie‘s Rufige Kru and 4 Hero‘s ‘Journey From the Light‘). The break’s fantastically tough drum rolls made it highly suitable to both jungle and the harder wave of drum & bass that dominated the late 90s. Krome & Time‘s jungle tear-out ‘The License‘ sees the break put to good use alongside the Amen break and vocals from jungle favourite Buju Banton, whilst Source Direct‘s ‘Call & Response‘ places the break in altogether darker territory.

mr2848_2009109_124276339506. Kurtis Blow – Do The Do

The popular breakbeat from Kurtis Blow‘s 1981 single ‘Do the Do’ is one of the few frequently sampled drum & bass breaks to have originated from a hip hop record rather than from hip hop’s funk / soul origins or from drum & bass itself. The track also stands somewhat alone in that its popularity was largely limited to the mid 1990s. Famous uses of the break include Adam F‘s Bob James sampling classic ‘Circles‘, LTJ Bukem‘s iconic ‘Horizons‘ and Sound of the Future‘s dancefloor killer ‘The Lighter‘ (notable also for its somewhat uncharacteristic sample of Francis Lai!).

mr36655_2011114_153352727315. James Brown – Funky Drummer

Whilst undoubtedly one of the most iconic breakbeats of all time (sampled close to 1,000 times, largely in hip hop), Funky Drummer’s relevance to the development of drum & bass is more closely aligned with early hardcore than the genre’s more recent output. For classic examples see Egyptian Empire‘s dark and hectic ‘The Horn Track‘ (which combines the break with Amen Brother to great effect) or DJ Red Alert & Mike Slammer‘s similarly hectic, but far bouncier ‘In Effect’.

mr28_2008105_1223245011994. Incredible Bongo Band – Apache

Best known as the B-Boy anthem that defined the sound of hip hop’s DJ architects, including the likes of Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc, ‘Apache’ has also yielded significant influence on the development of drum & bass. With it’s tempo increased to the realms of 150 bpm+, it takes on a more delicate feel than many of the breaks on this list and as such found favour with many producers of the so-called ‘intelligent’ drum & bass of the mid ’90s. For a slightly tougher take on the break, many sampled Young MC’s ‘Know How’ which features a punchy open sample of the break in its closing bars. Characteristic uses include Goldie‘s groundbreaking Inner City Life and Source Direct‘s ‘A Made Up Sound‘ (released on Goldie’s Metalheadz imprint).

mr2848_2010716_11508291279-23. Bobby Byrd – Hot Pants (Bonus Beats)

Occasionally mistaken for ‘Think’ (see #2 below), the Hot Pants break (also produced by James Brown) shares a very similar prominent tambourine line. Whilst the drums are a prominent feature of the original version of the track, the Urban label’s 1987 reissue contains a handy 2.5 minute long ‘Bonus Beats’ track containing just the drums and it is from this version that most will have taken their samples. Much like another of the James Brown productions on this list, Funky Drummer, Hot Pants is arguably more closely associated with hardcore than it is with jungle and more recent drum & bass sub genres. The Prodigy’s crossover smash ‘Charly‘ famously used the break, as did Bukem’s ethereal proto-intelligent masterpiece ‘Music‘.

mr60124_201367_1428359204992. Lyn Collins – Think (About It)

Think’s history as a sample source predictably begins with hip hop, seminal producers of the late 80s such as 45 King, Marley Marl and many others having heavily utilized the break long before hardcore or jungle took hold. One of this iconic James Brown productions’ unique characteristics however is that it contains several distinct break sections rather than just one, including an incredibly useful passage which contains just the break’s distinctive tambourines. As such it’s one of the more versatile breaks on this list and has been used in iconic tracks including ‘Origin Unknown‘s broody Andy C produced 1993 anthem ‘Valley of the Shadows‘, and the defining intelligent-meets-jungle floor filler ‘Burial‘ by Jumping Jack Frost alias Leviticus.

mr146_20081122_21722573771. The Winstons – Amen, Brother

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the genre that we’ve given the The Winstons‘ ‘Amen, Brother’ the number one spot on our list. The undisputed king of the jungle breakbeats (and the 2nd most sampled record of all time), it’s the breakbeat that defined the genre. As with many other breaks on this list, these drums first came to prominence as a sample source in hip hop, gracing numerous tracks in the late 80s from the likes of Salt N Pepa, through to Ultramagnetic MCs. It’s NWA’s use of it that proved one of the most popular of the period and it’s not unlikely that this is where many hardcore / early jungle producers would have first heard it. Amen Brother itself borrows its musical content from a pair of tracks by the Impressions, ‘We’re a Winner’ and ‘Theme from Lillies of the Field (Amen)’, although it’s the open drums played by Gregory C Coleman that appear a minute and half into the track for which it will forever be remembered. Notable examples of the break’s usage include the Shy FX produced crossover jungle smash ‘Original Nuttah’, Ganju Kru‘s jump up anthem ‘Super Sharp Shooter‘ and Bukem’s fledgling intelligent soundscape ‘Demon’s Theme’.

Honorable mentions

The breaks listed above, although featuring on some of drum & bass’s most memorable cuts, really only scratch the surface of the many, many drum samples that give the genre its variety. Popular breaks that didn’t make the cut included James Brown’s ‘Tighten Up’ (the break that provides Photek’s ‘Seven Samurai’ with its crashing high hats), Model 500’s The Flow (Alex Reece Remix) (the first appearance of the drums that backed Reece’s 1995 anthem ‘Pulp Fiction‘) and Supreme Nyborn’s 80s hip hop break ‘Versatile Extension’ (the high hat led break sometimes known as ‘The Sandman’ that characterised many mid 90s intelligent cuts including DJ Trace’s ‘After Hours’). Almost all of the popular breaks utilized in early sample based hip hop have also found their way into drum & bass’s palette, Skull Snaps’ ‘It’s a New Day’, The Commodore’s ‘Assembly Line’ and Dyke & The Blazer’s ‘Let A Woman Be A Woman …‘ to name just 3 obvious examples. There are surely many more examples to be added to WhoSampled, so if you know of a usage of any one of the above not currently listed, please get involved by visiting www.whosampled.com and hitting the ‘Submit‘ link at the top of the page!

Words: Chris Read

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LL Cool J Breaks Down ‘Rock The Bells’ for Complex Magnum Opus Series

Veteran Queens MC LL Cool J breaks down the making of all time classic ‘Rock the Bells’ (sampled over 100 times!) and his early career in a mini documentary for Complex‘s ‘Magnum Opus’ series. Producer Rick Rubin, Def Jam’s Russell Simmons and artists of the day including Run DMC‘s Darryl McDaniels share their memories of the record and its influence. Watch the video below:

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Drake ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late': The Samples

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image courtesy of www.ifyouretypingthisitstoolate.com

This week saw the surprise release of Drake‘s latest offering, a 17-track mixtape following on his success of 2013’s Nothing Was The Same and building on his statements set out in 2014 with a sprinkling of huge club singles (‘0 to 100′, ‘Tuesday’, ‘How Bout Now’, etc). Rumours circulated regarding a Drake release due early this year, but it came as a surprise for many that this (on first glance at least) appeared to be a proper LP going straight to iTunes for $12.99. Speculation based on some of the lyrical content here seemed to point to this being connected to the recent Cash Money beef and smacks of an attempt to fulfil his contract early with the label, headed up by Birdman, whom Lil Wayne has recently revealed is behind the delays in his long anticipated Tha Carter V (demanding $51 million in a lawsuit requesting not only his own exit from the label, but to take Drake and Nicki Minaj with him too!).

Rap beefs are an unexpected theme across this tape, Drizzy’s really opened up lyrically here and fires shots at some of his piers who’ve been biting him over the last few years (Tyga, Baby, Kendrick & Diddy). He mentions he’s grown now, and we’re witnessing a new era in his musical career, so thankfully this tape really feels like the perfect lay-up for his full album Views From The 6 supposedly coming later this year…

Light on the features but heavy on the production this tape expands on the spacey, melodic and club-ready sounds developed on Drake’s previous LP by Noah ’40’ Shebib and explores this framework enlisting help from a wide pool of producers with Boi-1da generally taking the reigns. Samples underpin the swirling synths in the form of catchy riffs and vocal effects but rarely take the centerstage lending more of a supportive role to the elaborate drum programming and warm basslines. In some cases whole beats have been recycled and re-produced to fit the aesthetic of the tape (notably; ‘Now & Forever’ by Eric Dingus‘Wednesday Night Interlude’ originally by Ekali)

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Opening with ‘Legend’ produced by OVO affiliate PARTYNEXTDOOR, the sample of Ginuwine’s ‘So Anxious’ is the first thing we’re given while Drake amps up for one of his untouchable hooks (“If I die I’m a legend”) and this same Ginuwine track re-appears a few songs later in 40’s first appearance on ‘Madonna’. Next up is ‘Energy’ produced by Boi-1da & Drake’s new protégé OB O’Brein which samples a well used drum loop from Original Concept’s ‘Knowledge Me’, some vocals from the intro of Eazy-E’s ‘Eazy-Duz-It’, and a soundboy shout from Cutty Ranks in a running theme across the record taking inspirations from Jamaican soundsystem culture. ‘Know Yourself’ produced by Boi-1da, Vinylz & Syk Sense opens with a snippet from OVO Nico’s recent visit to Kingston, Jamaica (here at 3:39) and samples a brilliant glockenspiel piece called ‘Tinted Glass’ by Network coming in when the beat evolves and Drake’s biggest hook of the tape is unleashed (“Running through the 6 with my woes!”).

‘6 God’ produced by Boi-1da & Syk Sense was previously seen late last year in a random batch of three tracks put on the OVO website and contains one of the coolest samples we’ve heard in a long time, looping up an 8-bit string snippet from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest‘Preach’ takes inspiration from Henry Krinkle’s ‘Stay’ (also recently used in Nicki’s ‘Buy a Heart’) and moves into ‘Wednesday Night Interlude’ which is formed on a beat made by Ekali called ‘Unfaith’ which in turn takes vocal snippets from Ciara’s ‘Body Party’. Next up is ‘Used To’ which appeared earlier this year on Lil Wayne’s Sorry 4 The Wait 2 and features a friendly nod to UK Grime artist Skepta and his summer smash ‘That’s Not Me’.

‘6 Man’ features Drake back with 40 and ends with a replay of ‘You Got Me’ by Erykah Badu, and ‘Company’ sees the appearance of a new friend of the OVO camp, Travi$ Scott, whom we’ve previously seen working heavily with Kanye, and coming through with one of the standout full lengths of last year with Days Before Rodeo. Reaching the end of the record we come to ‘Jungle’ which sees 40 flipping up one of the more obscure samples here taking a vocal loop from Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s track ‘6 8′, speaking to Complex recently, Garzón-Montano was pleasantly surprised to hear Drake & 40 worked with his music describing what he was doing when he first caught wind of the sample,”I was in Berlin, on the tour with Lenny Kravitz. It was so strange because I had been listening to “How About Now” and “6 God” a bunch.”

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Words – Ethan Illingworth (@illersss)

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John Manuel (RAMP) interviewed for WhoSampled

For the latest edition of the WhoSampled interview series, we speak with John Manuel, drummer, percussionist and band leader with the group RAMP, a Roy Ayers affiliated project whose debut album ‘Come Into Knowledge’ is widely considered a jazz fusion / rare groove classic. Tracks from the album have been sampled by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Erykah Badu among many others. In this interview John talks about his tenure as drummer for The Spinners, recording at Jimi Hendrix‘s studio in New York, working with Roy Ayers and Edwin Birdsong and his admiration for the new generation of artists who have sampled and reworked his classic recordings.

Listen here or via the widget below:

John Manuel (RAMP) interviewed for WhoSampled by Whosampled on Mixcloud

Interview by Chris Read.

Follow RAMP: Facebook / Twitter

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Aphex Twin’s Unreleased Soundcloud Dump

For a man who seems to have perfected the art of teasing his fanbase, it’s somewhat incredible that it has taken this long for Richard D. James to join Soundcloud. Over the past couple of weeks, Aphex Twin (or should that be “user48736353001″?) has unleashed a treasure trove of previously unreleased material onto the audio cloud streaming service. The mind games began with a comment on a track on the official Aphex Twin soundcloud by user48736353001 which stated “Would like to know the full setup for this track, brilliant music man. I love your early 90’s stuff so much, I was doing stuff in the early 90’s, similar to you but I didn’t know about you when I did it ! Im also 43 years old :) I’m going to be uploading it to soundcloud soon, gotta dust off the old DAT’s & cassettes!“.

Despite continued denials and deliberately misleading statements (one response to a comment from the official PlanetMu account read “thanks, it’s not rich though, wish i was!”) the account’s official status is all but confirmed having been followed by Richard’s official Soundcloud and also tweeted out by the Aphex twitter page. The tracks seem to date from his earliest days as a teenage techno whizzkid right up to around the time of his last release for Warp (2001s ‘Drukqs’) before his self imposed exile from the world of recorded music (with a few notable exceptions, 2005’s Analord series and the pair of EPs released under ‘The Tuss’ moniker in 2007). Here we take a look at some of the many samples unearthed from this mammoth 157-track data dump. No doubt there will be more to come!

joniParking Lot (samples Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell)

In what may be the most uncharacteristic AFX sample ever, Richard borrows the distinctive pre-chorus from Joni Mitchell’s 1970 hit ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. Joni’s angelic voice is laid over rolling machine-hats and an acidic bassline, indicative of the fact that the track most likely originates from the time period stated in the title of his debut record (85-92). This is seemingly confirmed by the description accompanying the track “Recorded off the radio, the sample..i think..this ones going out to damo, RIP mate your very missed. made in 1988-89″

chtlakMake A Baby (samples Where Do Babies Come From? (North Wales) by Harold Williamson)

The style of this track will sound eerily similar to anyone familiar with the two-part ‘Hangable Auto Bulb’ EP, released in 1995 under the AFX moniker, from which this tune was most likely an outtake. ‘Make A Baby’ utilizes a sample from the same spoken word record from which ‘Children Talking‘ and ‘Every Day‘ took their infantile vocal sample.

eazyPump The Shit (samples Ruthless Villain by Eazy-E ft. MC Ren)

One of the many tracks in this unreleased collection that dates from his earliest years as a musician, ‘Pump The Shit’ samples the scripted studio banter between Dr. Dre and Eazy on ‘Ruthless Villain’ and integrates it into a pumping rave track, appropriately accompanied by the cryptic note “Plymouth Warehouse 1991” in the description.

dsotm220 Pink Floyd (samples Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd)

Another out-of-character sample for Richard D. James, on ’20 Pink Floyd’ he borrows various melodic elements from the 5th track on ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. The result is a beautiful ambient breakbeat piece (also samples the drum machine embellished Funky Drummer break from Run-DMC’s ‘Run’s House‘) that was almost certainly made during his teenage years, this is backed up by the description included with the track – “Didn’t have many records to sample back then and the girl who lived next door had a floyd lp, never listened to them then or since, just bagged the sample and made the tune, few different versions of it, been in the atic for all these years”.

mrfdgpvFrequency Transmitter (samples Examples of Microphone, Radio Frequency, Diode, Goniometer and Pscychophone Voice by Konstantin Raudive

Richard issued a challenge to keen-eared listeners in the comments of this track – “anyone who guesses samples wins a prize“. The user Levi Just duly obliged and replied “Hi Richard, the vocal samples used in this track are from side B of Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead by Konstantin Raudive. What do I win?“, Aphex applauded the user and inquired as to how he had found to sample, which Levi Just chalked up to “Good ears, intuition, vast musical knowledge, and detective work.”

uraniumRenalgade Sonar (samples Uranium by Kraftwerk)

The opening droning chord and robotic voice of Kraftwerks ‘Uranium’ is utilised in the opening of another RDJ late 80s/early 90s outtake. ‘Uranium’ has also found itself sampled by New Order and WestBam.

RDJAGirl/Boy Dark Version (remix of Girl/Boy Song)

One of the most unusual and surprising inclusions in this mass of unreleased material is an alternate “dark” version of Girl/Boy song from the ‘Richard D. James’ album. Whilst the original was an emotionally honest major-key hectic Jungle workout, this version remains beat-less and takes unpleasant melodic turns wherever it can, turning one of Aphex Twin’s most heartwarming tracks into one of his most unsettling.

Words: Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)

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The Music of Whiplash

Whiplash – the debut film by writer/director Damien Chazelle released in Europe this past month to rave reviews and overwhelming critical acclaim – centers around a young jazz drumming student, Andrew Nieman (played by Miles Teller) and his volatile relationship with respected teacher and band leader Terrence Fletcher (portrayed by J.K. Simmons). The movie takes place at the fictional New York Shaffer music conservatory (most likely based on the equally prestigious Juilliard music school). Fletcher employs unusual, manipulative and psychologically punishing motivational techniques in a sadistic effort to push Andrew beyond his own limits.

The musical performances in the film are largely based around two key pieces of music.


First recorded in 1936 by Barney Bigard and his Jazzopators, ‘Caravan’ is often credited to Duke Ellington who was a member of the band along with several other players who were part of his Duke Ellington Orchestra. One of the most intense scenes of the film involves Fletcher pushing Andrew and his understudies to play a section of Caravan’s drums at a punishing 400bpm for hours on end. ‘Caravan’ was also performed and recorded by Buddy Rich, who is shown to be Andrew’s idol and main inspiration throughout the film. The well-known standard has also been recorded by other Jazz luminaries such as Thelonious Monk and Enoch Light. Afrika Bambaataa also borrowed the distinctive trombone melody from the original recording on the “Jazz mix” of Jazzy Sensation.


The piece from which the film takes its title is a lesser known, but arguably more virtuoso composition, exemplified by Andrew’s panicked look as he first sets eyes upon the sheet music which starts at a rapid tempo in 7/4 before changing at various points to double time. It was first performed and recorded in 1973 by Don Ellis and his band, which contained the composer Hank Levy and has since been sampled in hip hop on a number of occasions.

Operating on a very limited budget of only $3.3 million  (the only other officially licensed composition is ‘Intoit’ by Stan Getz) most of the music featured or performed in the film was written by composer Justin Hurwitz and Tim Simonec. Their skill in imitating certain jazz styles throughout the film is perfectly demonstrated during Andrew’s date with Nicole (Melissa Benoist), late last year Hurwitz told thecredits.org “…there’s a song that plays when Miles and Nicole (Melissa Benoist) have a date in a pizza parlor. Our budget was too small for a standard there, so I had to fake one, which meant basically I had to write a tune that could sound like it was made in the 30s. At the pizza parlor Miles says, ‘This is Jackie hill, 1932.’ But there is no Jackie Hill.”

Words: Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)

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