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April 20, 2018

The Song of the Sample of the Song

I've never heard of Charmels. There are probably dozens of similar bands from the period, Wikipedia says they were on Stax between 1966-68 and didn't have a hit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dixiebelles)

I would probably not have listened twice to this track if I'd heard it on the radio.


But listen again. Just for 8 seconds. That's quite a nice little piano phrase. It doesn't get repeated however - what a waste.

I've heard of Wu Tang Clan of course, but when they emerged I was in my fallow period of music appreciation and they didn't get much attention from me. I never felt the need to fix this absence, hip-hop hasn't played a big part in my musical life. My loss probably. Anyway, they made a track called C.R.E.A M. which apparently was quite successful https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.R.E.A.M. - have a listen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBwAxmrE194 - hear anything you recognise? Yes, it's that nice bit from the Sharmels song earlier. Sampled over and over again.

Now, let's move on, there is a point to this, eventually, and a great song. Recently I asked Spotify to play me some music (on my Amazon Echo Dot, this bit is important)- specifically Gabor Szabo (don't ask, just randomly saw his name when I was investigating minimalist music). I don't have a paid subscription, so it plays me a radio station of similar tracks. After a few songs, I hear something I really like, no lyrics, but a great beat and a nice melody. I ask Alexa "What's this song?" She tells me. I don't understand her so ask again, and again. The closest I come is "Ed Nichols Affair, mumble A.M.). Thinking this is enough I start searching for the song online. But there is nothing like this anywhere.

I search in my Alexa app, I ask for the playlist again, and again (each time I get a new list). I try asking for the playlist on my computer and work through the results (coincidentally finding a great track by someone called Moondog who I'd not heard of: "Bird's Lament" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSimbyS_YlA which I knew I knew - and I've decided I probably heard the Mr Scruff remix called "Get a Move On" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS_CLIF1h-o - but I digress.

Weeks pass. Then I'm in the kitchen and the song comes on out of the blue. I ask my girlfriend "How!", and she says she'd asked for Gabor Szabo while I was out of the room. Hurrah. No point in asking Alexa, this time I whip out my phone instead and record as much as I can of the music. I happen to not have Shazam or any other music recognition tools installed, but on my work phone I have Soundhound. So I sit the two phones together, and play the music between them, and Soundhound does it's magic and I have the answer at last!

El Michels Affair - C R E A M - you can hear it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhDnWLfm07o

It's really chilled, cinematic, has a great hook at 40 seconds you might know by now. It's not overused like Wu Tang Clan did, it's not under used like Sharmels, just right. This is a much better track musically than either of the previous ones.

I read through a lot of the YT comments and this is how I backtracked to get the story above. The interesting thing is that El Nichols Affair copied a track, that sampled another track - or as Dylkim says so eloquently:

"does anyone else realize how amazing this is? a DJ samples records to interpret a new sound from live instruments. here, live instruments are interpreting the DJ's sampled sound of other live instruments! this dude is taking a hip hop sound and translating it back into live instruments (with his own style on top of it)!"

The story might end there, but here's a little coda. There is a film I quite liked watching a couple of years ago, made by Jon Favreau, called "Chef". A lot of the YT comments are saying that "Chef" send them there, and so it is that this tune is in the film, and on the soundtrack. Perhaps I mentally noted it when watching, and when it came up in my kitchen I was ready for it - I do know I jumped on it very quickly when it started, which is a bit unusual for me.

Hope you enjoyed this journey of discovery as much as I did.

Posted by se71 at April 20, 2018 03:04 PM


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