Introducing… Canabrism’s “Shadow Of A Sprout”

I don’t usually post music on the Podcomplex blog, but as this year’s RPM Challenge entry was tied in to an exploration of Ableton Live, I thought it would be appropriate to comment on the album on a track-by-track basis…

Shadow Of A Sprout – Canabrism Live

Canabrism - Shadow Of A Sprout
The title of the album relates to a bag of wilted vegetables, but also is a reference to DJ Shadow, whose album ‘Endtroducing’ was the first to be composed entirely from samples (according to the Guinness Book of Records).

As this is the first Canabrism album to make extensive use of samples, I thought it appropriate to purloin a couple of samples from Endtroducing (though you’ll need to be quite attentive to spot them).

Here’s a quick run-through of the tracks in order of appearance… you can listen to selected tracks by clicking on the play button to the left of the title.

If you’re feeling adventurous, the whole album can be downloaded in a zip file here: “Shadow Of A Sprout”.

Track 1 – Secret First Move

The only track that got any significant tweet action before my computer gave up the ghost. You can follow the details of its creation by visiting the first page of tweets @canabrism. Vocal credit goes to Han (CM 123), whose phrasings I arranged to form the title.

Track 2 – Belly Up

This track was created around the bass synth, which was looped in a clip and various notes transposed to add melodic variation. I also used this note transposition to create the gamelan phrases. For the second section I recorded in some live bass as well.

Track 3 – Cotton Wool

I had noticed that I rarely do anything good on Mondays, so on this particular Monday I decided to just make something silly and not worry about how it turned out. I’m glad I did, because this is an amusing piece of fluff that makes me smile.

Track 4 – Harmonic Character

The vocal sample on this is taken from one of the Ableton Tutorial videos. It reminds me of a voice used on The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, where the guy is rabbiting on about ‘NanoWebers per Metre’.

Track 5 – Eggs Are Laking

The title comes from a football commentator spoonerism – somewhere near the end of the Aston Villa v CSKA match, he said something like ‘tiredness is beginning to creep in now – you can see their eggs are laking out there’. I only wish I’d been recording the audio for that one.

Track 6 – Fish Blush

This track only exists because my laptop fried its video card, and certainly comes under the ‘silver lining’ category. I wrote this using Reason on my girlfriend’s laptop, and added in the vocals later. This is a track that I might develop further – I think there’s more life in it than the deadline would allow.

Track 7 – Spam Factory

The title comes via Kruder & Dorfmeister on, and features the vocal talents of Loudon Wainwright III – whose song ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Cry’ appeared on Endtroducing.

Track 8 – Georgian Shoulder

The title is inspired by a generous penalty decision on the day before, and the ‘vis a vis’ sample comes from the original version of ‘Argentina’.

Track 9 – Argentina

I recorded these quiz snippets from a shortwave radio many years ago when I was in school. I edited the results using two cassette decks and mixed in some Casio keyboard underneath. I thought this would be a good place to resurrect the track, albeit with some music that is a bit more up-to-date.

Track 10 – Ix Or Size

For some reason, this track really strained my CPU, even though there were very few samples in use – the culprit was Kore 2, which I used to record in the lead melody. Some Koresounds can be real processor hogs… I froze the offending tracks in Live, which made things run much more smoothly.

Track 11 – Unbearable Head

I lost my favourite hat last Christmas, and this track was composed on the day that I finally found a passable replacement. The drums on this are mixed with heavy parallel compression (sometimes referred to as New York compression) which is very simple to do with Ableton’s rack system.

Track 12 – Snow Virgins

Composed on a Sunday, the title was inspired by a stroll through fresh snowfall in the Slieve Blooms. On this one, I played guitar through my old Boss 8-track – I always love the slo-gear effect.

Track 13 – Wax Mitten

Another track that owes its existence to my PC meltdown, this is the only song on the album that was done entirely in Pro Tools. I put the guitars through Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig, which is a really tasty effect generator. This is also the only track that made it to the album in its first incarnation – I created this in a couple of hours and never went back to change it.

Canabrism: Shadow of a Sprout

Get Yourself The Shiny Disc Version

Please feel free to download the 128k mp3 zip of the album and spread it around to any friends or acquaintances interested in expanding their aural exposure to Sprout-based Shadow sounds.

Even better, if you like what you hear, you can buy the album in a higher resolution download, or even in a remarkably physical Compact Disc format which you can keep on a shelf to display your Canabrismal taste for all to see. Click on the shopping cart to the right to peruse the purchasing options currently available for “Shadow of a Sprout”…


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