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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


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