i am in love with TIMBALAND's UNIQUE and INNOVATIVE process of developing song ideas.
the much admired VIRGINIAN R&B / HIP HOP producer often begins his development process with SPONTANEOUS RHYTHMS he concocts while beatboxing, slapping a nearby table or somehow other manipulating a PERCUSSIVE BEAT on the spot. often in this UNADORNED form the elaborate POLYRHYTHMS he is renowned for are already well-established, which is quite INCREDIBLE. if a PATTERN is worth pursuing further with a client he will then transpose such onto a DRUM KIT, SYNTHESIZER, DRUM MACHINE, KEYBOARD PATCH or some other EXOTIC INSTRUMENTATION in a process of refinement.
the results of this process are ELABORATE RHYTHMS that feel ORGANIC and deeply connected to the HUMAN EXPERIENCE. KRAFTWERK this is not. his music, despite whatever INSTRUMENTATION is implemented, has a GROUNDED and ELEMENTAL feel to it. the HUMAN BODY is an INSTRUMENT with a STEADY BEAT that we are all attuned with. and it makes sense on some level that a RHYTHM that is conceived utilizing such an ORGANIC foundation will connect with others in spite of later embellishments and production trickery. it should be stated that often this process is tailored to the needs of the client in mind with TIMBALAND collaborating with them on the spot and SPONTANEOUSLY in the moment. its a COLLABORATION that cannot be more DIRECT, with no filters such as instruments or even lyrics in the loop. just two sets of ears and eyes following each other as their mouths manipulate and explore new MELODIC and RHYTHMIC AURAL PATTERNS together. if that description comes off sounding a bit INTIMATE, my argument is that such a process of CREATION actually is. TIMBALAND is known for repeatedly working with a small stable of GIFTED artists over the years, from MISSY ELLIOTT, AALIYAH (R.I.P.) and LUDACRIS to RIHANNA, JAY-Z and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. i think this fact that he is selective with which recording artists he collaborates with because the key to his CREATIVITY is that deep sense of one-to-one CONNECTION.
its hard to say if that level of INTIMATE CRAFTSMANSHIP is replicated elsewhere in the music industry, where lots of producers are seeking to entertain the wants and needs of potential clients rather than creating something UNIQUE and INNOVATIVE. doing such risks failure. TIMBALAND seems alright with such a trade-off unlike most of his peers.
INTENSE, ELABORATE, POLYRHYTHMIC beats are not in vogue at the moment in HIP HOP, much like the LYRICISM and conceptual frameworks that carried CELEBRATED past albums from ICE CUBE and A TRIBE CALLED QUEST to PUBLIC ENEMY and TUPAC SHAKUR. like all things with culture, itll eventually cycle back. my hope is TIMBALAND will be part of that next renaissance of ELEVATED ARTISTRY in HIP HOP. here is hoping.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired in late 2020 during the pandemic. the playlist includes music from throughout TIMBALAND's ECLECTIC and PROPULSIVE production catalogue. enjoy!
RECORD REVIEW | "MEDULLA" BY BJÖRK
photo & text by nacrowe
in career full of pioneering avant-garde soundscapes, MEDULLA (ELEKTRA, 2004) is arguably the most experimental BJÖRK album. it relies on the sonic possibilities of mostly one instrument: the human voice. almost everything presented is a edited, skewed, pitched, layered or others manipulated from BJÖRK herself or one of her numerous collaborators in RAHZEL (beatboxing), MIKE PATTON (MR. BUNGLE/FAITH NO MORE), SHLOMO (beatboxing), TAGAQ (INDUIT throat singer), ROBERT WYATT (SOFT MACHINE), DOKAKA (beatboxing), GREGORY PURNHAGEN (human trombone) and both the LONDON and ICELANDIC CHOIRS respectively. just as key are the programming efforts by the likes of MATMOS, MARK BELL, VALGIER SIGURDSSON, OLIVIER ALARY and LITTLE MISS SPECTRA.
intuitively when you imagine a record orchestrated and performed exclusively with vocals the first thing that comes to mind (at least for me) was the act singing. while there is plenty of singing, both as a solo and ensemble instrument, what makes this record instrument is how it explores all the other non-traditional (at least in a WESTERN context) manipulations of the mouth, palette and throat. there is a little whizzing, clicking, shrieking, bass dropping, whispering, laughing and not holding going on.
and the effort is almost as much about the production as it is about the origins of the sounds themselves. when this came out if felt hyper-modern in its ability to layer multiple organic reverberations into percussive, driving and at times hypnotizing repeated mantras of sound to the point that you were caught in the moment. on songs like "WHERE IS THE LINE WITH YOU," "OCEANIA" and "TRIUMPH OF A HEART" i am quickly less interested in the novelty of its construction and captivated by the quality of the melody and song itself. its quite the achievement. less organic but hauntingly beautiful is the track "DESIRED CONSTELLATION" in its minimal electronic sound-bed that puts on display BJÖRK's voice raw and bare. it very captures an artist performing at the peak of her emotive powers and i find the song deeply affecting still to this day.
as with all entries in her catalogue, BJÖRK's MEDULLA is well worth seeking out and revisiting. it may not be the most easily consumable at first listen but it pays dividends for a listener active in their appreciation for a songs construction and performance. in that sense this record is a singular achievement in its artistry and ever more evidence of the genius and vital creative work gifted to the world by BJÖRK.
join us TONIGHT at 8PM EST for an all new episode of DEER GOD RADIO on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC with a playlist celebrating the experimental creative work of BJÖRK.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already, make sure and download the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
"DEER GOD RADIO 106: TIMBALAND PRODUCTION" LIVE TONIGHT AT 8PM EST ON MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC
join us tonight at 8PM EST for an all new episode of DEER GOD RADIO on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC as we get into the kinetic, forward propelling and rhythmically ingenious production work of TIMBALAND. this will be a fun show.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW and CLASSICAL-ISH WITH NUTMEG are available here at the DEER GOD website.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!