Lemme Tell Ya Somethin’

Englishman “Blawan” is a dark, brutal, take-no-prisoners kind of producer. You might know him from his most recent EP, “His He She & She” which has a list of unsettling track titles:  “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage” (Fugees sample!!) “His Money,” “His Daughters,” “And Both His Sons.”  The titles leave a lot to the imagination, which to me, has always been a fun quality of electronic music.

After making a mostly instrumental electronic track, you’re not bound by lyrics- you can name it whatever you want and cue the listener to envision a picture that they’ll associate with the music. In other words, the song titles can be starting points in the process of envisioning the (horrific, in Blawan’s case) picture for yourself.

But that was last year. A year before that in 2011, which I realize is considered ancient in EDM years, Blawan released a track on R&S called “What You Do With What You Have”- a title that forgoes the subtlety inherent in earlier song titles but still makes for a fun imaginative process, which I’ll *explain after the jump:

Just kidding, no jump.

While I’m certainly no electronic music expert, I can semi-confidently say that the track fuses elements of acid, Detroit house and techno. However, I can say in full confidence that the vocal sample is a sporadically pitch-shifted sound bite from a 2010 lecture/keynote speech given by veteran heavyweight electronic producer, Moodyman, for the Red Bull Music Academy.

The lecture is over an hour, but Blawan makes use of a particular couple of lines: “Let me tell you something. It ain’t what you got, but what you do with what you have. It ain’t what you do, it’s how you do it.”

That’s about it, as far as vocals go. On loop, with the pitch shifting all over the place. But I love this track because this quote deserves to be repeated over and over and hammered into the brain.
To me, this is straightforward but incredibly potent and inspiring advice that all of us could be reminded of once in a while. That is, figuring out how to do things with limited means; the artist who finds a way to create meaningful art without the expensive products, or being convinced that he or she can’t carry out their vision without the latest technology. In the context of the Moodyman lecture, his secret is not in what gear he uses; but how he uses it. *Imagine* the possibilities.

As you’ll see in the video I’ve provided below, Moodyman defies the stereotype of the awkward, reclusive hermit bedroom DJ/producer; this man is smooth and seems to be unphased by a girl giving him cornrows as he speaks. While I’m afraid of consuming Red Bull’s energy drinks, I’m okay if their sales help fuel cool things like lectures where interesting and enlightening creators like Moodyman can speak for over an hour and compare his MPCs and keyboards to his bitches and hoes.

Anyway, here’s the Blawan song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSu2HiMD9hI

And here’s the Moodyman lecture where the sample comes from, which is absolutely worth the full watch : http://vimeo.com/28718566

Elgin Baylor Lumpkin

…is Ginuwine’s real name. That’s all.