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Sunday, 25 May 2008

American Finale

Haha, the mash that took twice as long as it should have to make!

I began work on this approx. 2 weeks ago after hearing a top mash on GYBO 5, by Synchronize (Calvin Harris' "Acceptable in the 80s" with Estelle's velvety vocals over the top; a great summer tune) - I was desperate to do something with that vocal, as I'd class it one of my favourite pop tunes of the year so far. High and low I searched for the acapella but to no avail. I did however come across a copy of the Promo CD, which had a great instrumental on it.

Initially I started out with a couple of house vocals, namely Ce Ce Peniston's "Finally" and Degrees of Motion "Do You Want It Right Now", the second being dropped as it was quite out of key, and I couldn't be bothered playing with the tunings (my ears are pretty naff at these things). But as much as I love "Finally", the vocal is actually quit repetitive, and so I needed a second vocal in there. Cue the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows". God only knows how many times I've started a project with that song over a house beat!!!

Considering how easy it sounded to beat match and chop up the vocals, it actually took me ages to get a structure in place that I liked, with a couple of pan-effects, and my first foray in to EQ.

But the BB vocal was leaving me cold. A little too dry I thought, and not really setting me dancing feet on fire. So what to do? When in doubt, fire it across to the Maestro of Harmonius Mashing, Bobby Martini!! As you know by now, Bobby's a great mate, and I value his opinion highly on these matters, as let's face it - he is the king of production for getting stuff crisp and spot on.

Imagine my surprise when it wasn't actually the effects on the vocals that Bobby picked up on but the fact that the BB vocal was out of key! This is the 'legger's curse - you need to refresh your ears every 60 minutes if not more because you will seriously lose the plot on picking up things like that.

So what to do now? I didn't want to go back to the Degrees vocal, for the aforementioned key problems, and I was struggling for inspiration. It was staring me in the face though - the Estelle vocal as mentioned is probably my favourite pop vocal of the year so why bother looking anywhere else!

Fortunately in the CD Promo, there was a nearly full length version of the song without Kanye's rap so I loaded this back in to Acid agains the existing project layout and proceed to snip parts away that I didn't need. But I needed a little bit of a rap in there to break up the last quarter of the track, and I wasn't overstruck with Kanye's lyrics. Searching through my 'pella collection, I recalled the Usher mash I made for the EVP mix, and Ludacris' rap was pretty much the kind of lyrical pacing I was after - a bit of chopping and tempo changing and it was in there, sounding sweet.

Of course, the Estelle full track was slightly out of time with the instrumental and as such, I was getting all kinds of superposition (consturctive and destructive - sorry, that's the Physicist in me coming out again) so I had to kind of do a makeshift DIY acapella out of the full track to stop the beats clashing, thus adding more delays to getting this out.

Still, it's all done now, and here is the result. Sorry if this entry went on a little, but I thought it would be a good read in to the strains and stresses of being a 'legger. What starts off as a simple track that seems clear-cut in terms of making it, very rarely turns out to be that simple!

American Finale

Estelle vs. Ce Ce Peniston (w/Ludacris)
American Boy vs. Finally (w/excerpt from Usher's 'Yeah')

MP3 Download Page Here:

In other news, a big thanks again to Butch for all the kind words on Brooklyn Sweet Freakphony over at the Isle. and also another big thanks to the awesome GK of Cuts and Mouse fame - GK has played me before on his show, and recently once again played a Colatron track, this time "Liberty Bell" - thanks mate, and keep up the good work, I absolutely love the show! Check it out over at

Right, I'm off to pretend it is actually Summer outside and not torrential rain... gonna get me a tan


Friday, 9 May 2008

Brooklyn Sweet Freakphony

Well, this is officially my first collaboration in more ways than one.

As some of you may remember, about 6 months ago, I made a little promo one shot for Scott over at Ramdom Thoughts, which was basicaly based upon an idea that me sweet sweeeeet Angel gave me. We were chillin' over at my flat one night when she mentioned the Beatnuts' tuned that was sampled on J-Lo's "Jennie from the Block". I wasn't familiar with the original so I googled "Brooklyn Bomb" upon her advice. I eventually came by a little instrumental jobbie, by some unknown artist that sampled several beats from various hip-hop superstars, that included the Beatnuts that I fell in love with immediately. This became the basis for my instrumental, and eventually after trying a few other instrumentals over the top of it, the Verve's legendary "Bittersweet Symphony" fitted it perfectly.

You have to remember, when I first went to Uni, my musical life revolved around house, old skool and d'n'b. I'd grown up hanging out at my mates' houses listening to the likes of the Smiths and the Roses, and even though I was in denial to be controversial, I did like guitar based/indie music, but it was all about the beats for me at the time. I went along to the V98 festival in Leeds more for the drinking than the music, but it all changed once I saw the Verve headline on the Sunday night. It's an old cliche about life changing moemnts but this was literally just that. I have no qualms about admitting, I cried me eyes out to the live version of "Lucky Man" and "History" still sends a shiver down my spine, but "Bittersweet Symphony" remians for me, THE defining song of the 90s, Needless to say, it's still my most favourite gig I've ever been to (and there's been a few now!) and the Verve's "Urban Hymns" is still in my top 5 albums of all time. It inspired me to learn guitar and wear flares. That's powerful music!

Anyway, so the promo was made with my trademark Colatron voices and samples, and it was well received, generating more traffic to the site, plus it earned a fair few downloads for a short piece. I had to try and make a full length track out of it.

So off and on, over the last 6 months, I've revisited the Acid Pro session, completing the instrumental part of things around the same time as I finished the EVP sessions. I just did not have a vocal to fit it.

An avid reader of the Island of Misfit Songs blog by the incomparable Butch Rosser (aka DJ Brother Darkness) in the US, I'd clocked a few months back that he occasionally posts a list of ideas he has that he'd like fellow mashers ot throw together for him. A few ideas have really excited me, but I've just never got around to making them. But on the last challenge, Butch had the genius idea of pairing Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me" (butchered by the Sugababes) with soul classic, "Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight (which holds another special place in my heart ever since my good friend Kirsty was the Soccerette of the week on Sky Sports Soccer AM show a few years back and she had to do that catwalk thingy to it). In theory, a great pairing, but in practice, my laziness prevented me from putting the effort in to match the two.

Another of Butch's ideas involved matchign Biggie Smalls with the Verve - I've never been a Biggie fan as such, but as mentioned, I'm a HUGE Verve fan. The cogs were turning in my head. I have a Verve track, with a strong back beat made, hmmm.....

I dropped the Adina vocal in and well, excuse the French but shit me if it didn't virtually fit immediately.....

3 weeks later, playing around with various track placings/cuts, and looking for that final touch (I went for a home-made Bittersweet Symphony acapella to bring the anthemic lyrics back in) and here it is. I have to give a little it of credit to Angel, you are quite literally the best hon (you need to meet this girl - 6ft 2" of ex-model/dancer perfection, now signed to a NY rap label - she is simply awesome) and I have to give a whole load of credit to Butch for giving me the inspiration to take two of his ideas and mash them. A mash of a mash. Crazy. So yeah, this is essentially, Colatron & DJ Brother Darkness on the ones and twos. I love it, it's going back to the hiphop beats of early Colatron, and it's freaky like a monkey

Colatron & DJ Brother Darkness present....

Brooklyn Sweet Freakphony

Pharoah Monche - Simon Says (Intro)
Unknown - Brooklyn Bomb (feat. Slick Rick, Crooklyn Clan, Bad Boy, Beatnuts, Time Zone, Biggie, Jay-Z, Mase, Mobb Deep & Nas)
Adina Howard - Freak Like Me
The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony (both instrumental and DIY acapella)

and vocal excerpts from the following movies


MP3 Download Page Here:

Don't forget everyone to check out Butch's blog. Its a cracking read with some wicked interviews on there too with some luminaries of the scene. It's over at

And show some love for me Angel over at MS&M records. And if you need more info on those movie samples, check out my favourite new site at

If anyone does know who did the Brooklyn Bomb mix, let me know; it's driving me nuts, and I'd love to give it a bit of credit.

Colatron's off to get tipsy and consider heading out to DJ Yoda tomorrow. I'm looking for inspiration for the next one...

Ciao for now

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Burn Beachball Burn

Well here's a special one.

About 2 or 3 month's ago, I had an email from Scott Johnson, talking about how show #100 over at the Ramdom Thoughts blog, was going to be a little special (it's pretting special anyway!) and every track played was going to be an exclusive. Having contributed towards the show for the last year (yep, a whole year having a go at this crazy little thing called mash, and I still don't know if I've got any better), the challenge was on to make something to put towards this monumental moment in mash-up. As it happens, I was 3/4s through making the EVP mix, so I started to panic a little - would I have time? Would I have the source material? And so on....

Fortunately, I didn't have to worry. As an avid user of a certain P2P platform (ahem....I'm sure a legal disclaimer should come in about now), I searched for my usual terms, "acapella", "Instrumental", "obscure tibetan prayer chant"....and I stumbled across a VERY usable acapella of the Trammps classic "Disco Inferno". The bane of many a drunken student night out at the Ritzy, Yates, School Disco etc., it's often forgotten that the vocal on this track is actually, ruddy incredible, and is thought of as another boozy cheesy night-out track. Which is a crying shame.

I wanted to give it a modern vibe, but yet, at the same time, I was working on a few house classics such as the Bucketheads for my "Way I Bomb Your Body" track so I was firmly stuck in the mid-90's. One track that I remembered fondly was the trance classic, Nailin & Kane's "Beachball". God I used to love that track. I was sat in the car one day on the way to work just trying to remember the hook, as it was always one of my favourite tracks from the days of Oakenfold live at the Que Club (the Essential Mix live, from one of my local clubs - a must hear event every Friday between '95 - '96). I came by a few different versions of it (I had the CD single but a certain good DJ friend of mine has them in a black binliner down in his posh flat in London...the swine!) and one was just about the right length. The usual drag and drop in Acid Pro, and Bob's Your sounded good! I had to put a bit of work in to the section where the break down comes in as I lost the beat, but I think I managed to find it again.

So, a relatively simple A+B, but the synth just really brings out the Jimmy Ellis vocal, which at one point just soars....check it out during the breakdown when the raw power of "Satisfaction....came with a chain reaction" is sung. Spine-tingling.

As expected, show #100 was a top event, so here's to another 100 shows minimum for you Scott. Thanks for the challenge, and thanks for playing this little Colatron ditty. I hope everyone else out there enjoys this slice of trance disco.

Burn Beachball Burn

Nailin & Kane vs. The Trammps
Beachball vs. Disco Inferno

MP3 Download Page Here:

PS. Next week's post I am REALLY looking forward to. Another challenge, this time set by me good friend Butch Rosser out in the US of A, which has led to possibly one of my most exciting Colatron tracks yet. Can't stop hammering it on the playlist, and apparently, Butch likes! In the words of Shaw Taylor, "Keep 'em peeled..."