For this weeks blog post i will be writing about the art of sampling. Within this i will be looking at two very different artists and their approaches to this integral part of Dance music.
The artists i will be looking at are, Alan Fitzpatrick and Dario G. Both have shaped their respective genres immesurably over the period of their working lives as well as having differing approaches to sampling.
Nevertheless, what is sampling?
sampling (within music)is, “the act of recording or extracting (a small piece of music or sound) digitally (or to tape) for reuse as part of a composition or song.”
In its rawest form it is simply taking something and repurposing it.
Now onto my artists.
I will be looking at two tracks and explaining a little about the writer and the impact of the song to give context to the importance of their technique as well as to illustrate how they both differ from one another.
For Mr Fitzpatrick I will be looking at his track “Skeksis” and its use of what I consider to be ‘ambient’ sampling; and from Dario G i will be looking at their track “Sunchyme” which uses what I consider ‘active’ sampling.
This song is a ‘prime time’ track. In Alan’s trademark dark but groovy style it’s as aggressive as it is clever. This song has been credited as a techno classic and was one of the tracks which propelled Fitzpatrick to stardom alongside “for an endless night”. Its release on Drumcode was instrumental to its spread and it has firmly become a staple listen for anyone who is into Techno.
Its use of sampling is however subtle. at 3:22 in the track it gives way to a vocal sample which sounds both familiar yet impossible to place. The track used for the vocal sample is called “Turn it Around” by an artist called Alena.
It’s actually a late 90’s Trance track from which Fitzpatrick has extracted the intro vocals and repurposed them excellently into the break within his own track.
Using a sample in this way is something I consider to be ‘ambient sampling’. He’s not using it so as to draw attention to the actual sample used. It’s essentially there to bridge the change in pace of the track and allow for a build up to another heavy segment. His use of it is calculated but not so important that it “makes the track” so to speak.
The actual way it was sampled and added to the track was in the DAW Reason and it was done via time stretching after extracting from a CD copy.
What can i say about this song which hasn’t already been said? Coming out in 1997 this track propelled what was two somewhat unknown artists based in the UK to international fame with a track which was, unofficially, the ‘song of summer’.
The track is also regarded by some to be amongst the beginnings of the House sub genre ‘Tropical House’.
With its beachy themes and tribal chants and upbeat reworking of a sample from “Life In a Northern Town” by Dream Academy the track is a great example of ‘active sampling’
‘Active sampling’ is in my opinion the process of using a sample in a way that it is not only integral to the track but its use almost becomes one of the key identifiers of said track.
In this capacity the sample is playing an active part in the song. (As opposed to the previous example wherein the sample is an addition more akin to a pad).
The process of capturing the sample was done by recording from a copy of the song on Cd to an Akai S3000XL sampler. It was then time stretched to fit the track in Cubase. This was then all bounced out of Cubase to DAT. alongside this famous sample many of the parts of the song were sampled in this way in clouding the bass. In all 3 samplers were used. (Two S3000Xl’s and one S3000i). this style of work the Artist later pointed out was their preferred way of creating tracks. As opposed to using studios which they later did for their following hit track “Carnaval de Paris” which went on to be the song of the 1998 World Cup.
So thats sampling.
Tune in soon for a look at synthesis after I have obtained the information on it from one of my favourite artists Specialivery from Switzerland.