Tired of he same old, dry music reviews? We were. So we’ve started this new feature called Modus Operandi in which we will be asking the musicians or label bosses behind our favourite new releases to break them down for us.
#001 – The Many Samples of ‘Ibis’ by Brother Mynor
“It always begins with the sample. I’d like to say that I plan things out more, but usually I just keep playing with samples and sounds until I find something with the right vibe and atmosphere. What makes this track unique to me is that I layer multiple samples from different sources and blend them together to sound more cohesive. I did a similiar thing on my track “Julia Roberts Damages Her Floorboards”
Ibis’ melody and rhythm comes from a combination of 4 different samples. The first sample that I built this track on is the first few seconds of “This One’s For You” by Stuff
After hearing Verde by Juan Rios I really wanted that constant pulsing rhythm and this sample gave me a great foundation to to work with.
At this point I had the rhythm and the pacing of the track laid out and needed to find the melody. I must’ve cycled through about 40 different samples before I found something that worked. A few weeks prior I had managed to acquire a vinyl rip of Idris Muhammad’s The Power of Soul (1974). I had been obsessed with finding a way to sample its titular track for months after I heard BZKT’s amazing flip ‘Strawberriez’ from his RAW DATA album (which has since unfortunately been taken off the cloud). However, no matter what I did with the sample, it seemed to always sound like BZKT’s track and I hadn’t found a way to use it originally until now. In Ibis I took cuts of just the rhodes notes and layered them to create a kind of droning synth pad (which you can first hear about 0:12 seconds in) that the whole track sits on. There is a lot of delay, reverb and sidechaining happening here as well. This makes it flow under the track instead of it being a focal element. I also pulled some of the rhodes notes out and pitched them up, down and all around to create the basis of the melody
After I had layered these two samples my first thought was it needed more happening in the melody and in the high end of the track. I’ve always loved that constant rattling/jingling you hear in a lot of Soul Jazz and Library music, so I pulled out the high end from Alan Hawkshaw’s Sheer Elegance to give that effect.
This didn’t really help with the fact that the melody was still very basic and there was no bassline in the track – so I went on the hunt again for that final missing piece.
It ended up being a track by The Crusaders called Serenity which was sitting in my sample library for about a year or so now. It was pure luck that the sample was in key with everything else I had already added. Not only did the sample give me my bassline, but it also let me add variation to the main melody throughout the track. In my tracks I always try to make sure something new is happening every few bars. It keeps the casual listener more engaged, and I love hearing back from some of my more regular listeners that they will notice something new on the 10th listen that they hadn’t heard before. After I’ve found all my elements everything becomes a blur of sample chopping, experimenting, layering and adding percussion.
The final thing I tend to do with my tracks before I run them through my Roland SP404SX is to layer field recordings over the entire track. I love creating a sense of openness and space in my tracks and as an amatuer field recorder, I tend to use my own recordings for this. For Ibis I really wanted to try and capture that free, gliding feeling a bird experiences and so I used 4 different recordings of nature that fade in and out over the top of eachother. The recordings I made were of; an aviary, some soft waves I recorded near a lake, the trickling stream of a forest in Kyoto and finally the sounds of an Ibis which can be heard in the outro of the track. Ibis’ don’t really live where I do, so I had to outsource this sample to the great and holy Youtube machine.
Finally I have included a screenshot of my Ableton session for this track in hopes that anyone who has some questions I didn’t touch on can work it out for themselves. As always, no matter who you are, feel free to contact me through my email or soundcloud if you ever have any questions about my process or songs that I’ve made.
Peace and Love”