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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

SubVersion Stop 64: Muttley - Back To The Drawing Board (January 2010)

A genre bleeding into a new definition? If you listened to "Back To The Drawing Board" as an ambient lover, the tunes would be fresh to your ears. If you glanced at this set-list as a drum & bass conisseur, you'd predict it would be beat-orientated. The fact is that these tracks were not drawn-out drones in their initial guises, nor beatless. Every one is a composite of stretched audio.

I read Dave Michuda's "slo_mo" entry, and downloaded Paul's "Extreme Sound Stretch", wondering what original things I could do with it. At this time I was also feeling let down, and had spoken to a friend about jungle mixes. This duality lead me to revisit the most spine-tingling tunes I could find in my drum & bass collection, citing the phrase "back to the drawing board".

I don't have many records in the genre - 250 maximum, at a push. So sampling for breakdowns, intros and outros without percussion was fairly easy. Thinktank's "Skyscraper" was a starting point. The samples in "Back To The Drawing Board" were stretched to up to ten times their original length. Adam F's classic "Jaxx" and Probe-One's "Substance" were the longest modifications in the set, taking under two minutes of synth noise and elongating it to roughly 600 seconds. Not all is audible; using Acoustica Audio Mixer I faded in and out of sounds with clarity optimized.

There's a variety of octave adjustments mixed in, blurring the lines. "Extreme Sound Stretch" lets you do this as well as shift pitches and harmonics. While this mix was rendered entirely from drum & bass audio, I plan to incorporate a helping of outsider repertoires, including ambient and piano works, to chime in with my favoured selections. It's worth noting that I bought these tunes partly on the basis of their atmospherics, so perceive this as a prototype to me discovering ambient music when I was 16, if you will.

The title is relevant, also, because I'm completing my Open University study. I am in the process of re-reading all the units to ensure I obtain the highest mark I can for my second assessment. 75% on my first is respectable considering I knew I was slacking due to undisciplined structure. At 25 minutes, I hope "Back To The Drawing Board" will resonate with your own experiments.


01. Mav - Atomic Collision (Vector Burn remix) (Covert Operations / Warm Communications, 2003)
02. Konflict - Messiah (Renegade Hardware, 2000)
03. Thinktank - Skyscraper (Obscene, 2005)
04. Adam F - Jaxx (from the album Colours, 1997)
05. Cartridge - Expressway (Unreleased)
06. Kemal & Black Sun Empire - Stranded V1.0 (oBSEssions, 2005)
07. Polska - Burning Sun (Subtle Audio, 2005)
08. Probe-One - Substance (from the album Testflight Presents Altitude Vol.1, 2005)
09. Breakage - Drowning (Planet Mu, 2006)
10. Hive, Keaton, Echo & Gridlok - Exit Violence (Violence, 2005)



  1. thanks a lot for sending along the link to this one. great sound and brilliant idea! ive always liked the 'ambient' bits of dnb tracks, and now theres a mix with nothing but that.. its sort of like the opposite of sampling breakbeats! i just wish it was longer. perhaps a part 2 is in order?

  2. Thanks Travis. Part 2 is in the pipeline. :)

  3. I've seen this topic re-viewed several times (like today) which is nice, and over 500 downloads by word of mouth is very nice. So thanks people for that. However, I don't think I can come up with a part 2, because I haven't bought enough d'n'b records for a very long time. It might be another 3 years at this rate before I know different. :)