New From Old

So if you know anything of ELO, you probably know the song “Evil Woman.”  It’s a tried-and-true staple of classic rock, featuring what may well be the most-recognized series of keyboard notes that accompany a chorus, with the song being referenced far and wide in pop culture.

What you may not know is that that song was written in about 30 minutes as a ‘filler’ for the album it was released on in 1975, and that the rest of their catalog deserves as much if not more attention than their biggest hit.  Over the years their songs have been sampled 100+ times into beats for other recording artists, which is kind of astounding to me, previously having known so little about their career or output.

I’m writing about Electric Light Orchestra today because I have recently come across a couple examples of productions that sample their work, and I wanted to share my findings.  A band that was probably ahead of its time has been sampled to create fresh iterations of composition, and those compositions fall into the camp of “atmospheric reverb and overlapping delays” that almost put me into a meditative trance when I listen.  It’s blissful.

Repetition has long been a staple of dance/electronic music, and for me personally the best-produced among them are tracks that employ repetition but remain captivating throughout.  This is of course subjective, but first take a listen even if for 30-60 seconds of the below ELO song:

Now dig into a disco beat that makes use of the sample, especially featuring the lines “sorrow about to fall” and “it lingers there alone” [sidenote: may be the most hauntingly beautiful thing you listen to all day]:

Another original/example pairing here, to similar but yet quite different effect:

Lately I have been all about music that reverberates layers upon itself to create rich soundscapes.  I wish I knew more about the process behind the sample work that goes into these sort of productions, but for now let’s just say it’s done by wizards and magic.

Let’s also get metaphorical for a moment here: I am working on a bit of a sampling technique myself — but with my life, rather than the master tapes and sound stems from a song.  Highlighting the best bits of “old me,” and reconstructing them into a polished “new me” complete with additional and nuanced elements.  Because life is a party, and any DJ worth his salt knows what needs to be done to stay relevant & in control.

Grateful to have gained that control back into my collection.

———

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