I need that scratch, the hiss, the — imperfection.
I didn’t grow up listening to a record player. All my influences at a young age were through piano lessons and recording my favorite songs on the radio with a tape recorder.
I still seem to seem to be drawn to the downcast wheeze and constant wavering between disarray and perfect design.
Maybe instead of trying to describe it — just think: Wu-Tang Clan and Hieroglyphics — among others, both those are the best starting points from both coasts.
I found this guy, Kid Koala. Kind of stumbled on him from an Rdio playlist and wanted to hear more almost instantly. Threw on his release from September last year, 12 bit Blues, and fell in love with the personality and broken, yet precise monotony he creates. He – is a Canadian DJ named Eric San.
He uses the E-mu SP-1200 exclusively on this album, a machine that revolutionized hip-hop in the late 80s and early 90s.
This was THE machine.
An excerpt from and article in a Canadian newspaper said it best:
As he touched upon the subject of history and of the unique nature of older instruments, San mentioned several that find their way onto the album. One of the most famous of all of them is the E-mu SP-1200, a machine that revolutionized hip-hop in the late 80s and early 90s. Both this machine’s strengths and weaknesses define the sound of early hip-hop, and it is the balance of design and chaos that allows San to reach some of the artistic heights found in his records.
“I think that every kind of instrument or piece of equipment has, inherent in it’s design, the thoughts and ideas of whoever made that instrument,” San explains. “I think that by the time it gets into my hands, sometimes I feel like those machines have a personality unto themselves and they kind of help guide you to play them in a certain way.”
“You’ll hear it in all the 12-bit blues tracks,” he continues. “You kinda see the seams, there’s that tugging at each other, that push and pull. I like that, I like things that sound a bit broken, I’m not really into the pristine, fresh out of the box kind of sound. I like to see that there’s a little bit of history in these machines.”
Here’s Kid Koala’s soundcloud page, for you Rdio hatin’ folks.
And here’s a great track from the album: