When making funk, the Simmons Clap Trap is essential. This little box defined the late seventies and early eighties funk eras, placed on the twos and fours and, when combined with a well-mixed real drum kit, defines funk.
As a stop-gap measure until I can use VST plugins in Reason (or I one day get my hands on a real Clap Trap), I sampled in eight different triggerings of this device and set Kong to randomly fire them.
I also put a Combinator in there that uses a Matrix to automatically fire Kong’s claps on the twos and fours, if you want to emulate the Auto function.
Lyrically, perhaps, much darker than my usual fare, but still a very lush and layered vocal by new recording artist Alina Christensen, this is my first original, full vocal production since last year. Proudly signed to Nick Holder‘s DNH Records, I hope you enjoy my latest work.
The cats at Italy’s Double Cheese Records approached me about four months ago about doing a remix album of one of my biggest records of all time, We Belong To The Night. It’s been a long time since I thought about that track, let alone heard it, so I of course said, “Sure!”
It’s out now, and as you can see here, Cee ElAssaad‘s remix is levelling the charts. The track remains to this day the only “spoken word” song I’ve ever made, and I’m glad to see the words still resonate so strongly with people…and that producers are still interested in revisiting it!
A new, deep and very melancholy original full vocal with an unrelenting commentary on the current state of affairs on the lack of human unity, co-operation, and compassion in the pursuit of money, Suges and his crew went in to the glorious facilities of Imprint Music and the deft engineering skills of Lance Schibler.
Featuring the vocals of model, actress, and singer Alina, this is her first foray into the world of deep house. She did a fine job laying in strong leads and very lush background layers.
We know it’s been a long wait but hopefully this new one hits you in the right spot!
(There used to be some YouTube videos of this I was linking to but looks like they all got taken down.)
Writing and execution
I’ve been wanting to work with Nadine for a long time. Seems like this highly talented singer has worked with damn near everyone in Toronto except the Northern Lord of the Deep?!?! Hahah. I’m playing; we’re good friends going back years.
I had the production on the song specifically for her done for some time, but I was blocked on the lyrics. So this song is unique in it’s my first original that I actually co-wrote with the vocalist! Quite pleased with the results; we stuck to the “book” motif consistently without, I think, stretching it too far just to stay in theme.
Nadine insisted we record this in a real studio, which normally–at least when it comes to house music–I’m against, since the profit margin on these releases is so low. What I didn’t realize was how much cheaper studio time’s gotten over the years, and how much just being in the studio environment adds to the vibe and emotions of everyone involved, resulting in a much better vocal delivery and heightened creativity to develop things (such as vocal harmonies and maybe even new lyrics) on the fly.
This particular production was composed in Reason and finished in Logic. I used Reason for the drums (Kong), the two Rhodes’ (Radical Keys), the piano (Radical Piano), the quasi-vocal pad (Predator), the bassline (Antidote), the secondary synth-horn (PX7), and the secondary pads (Parsec).
Rounding out the production with outboard gear, the synth-flute was provided by a Moog Little Phatty, the arpeggiator pattern played on an Arturia Minibrute, and the main silky, smarmy, synth-horn type thing (that follows Nadine’s melody on the pre-choruses) brought to you by the Novation Bass Station II.
All the stems were bounced out of Reason and imported into Logic so I could use my Universal Audio plugins to finish up the mix, sweetening it and warming it up a bit with some Neve EQ and Ampex tape action.
Working with Harley & Muscle again
It was nice to work with the label I started on again. We haven’t done records together in years! They were supportive of the project, gave good feedback, and didn’t waste any time getting the record out to the people.
Charted by Traxsource officially in both their Essential Afro and Hype Chart, this analog-synth-heavy remix is available on Traxsource and Apple Music.
Designed to be “hypnotic” in a good way (in order to provide you with healing magic!), the effect was achieved by using a Moog Minitaur to do the bassline…crucially, it was purposely kept a little sharp to unsettle you a little bit. Rest of synth work was provided by a Moog Little Phatty and a DSI Mopho x4.
For this remix I couldn’t work in Dana’s vocals…they’re really good, I just had already gone too deep on my “trance-inducing” concept. Instead I hummed the main melody myself.
You may notice that this YouTube video has some of Tantra’s words missing…it’s my new technique to stop DJs from ripping my songs off YouTube! Haha.
Charted four times and featured on Traxsource‘s Soulful Essentials list, this is the first time I remixed a “classic house” track. And probably the last; wasn’t nobody feeling this one. Get it on Traxsource.