Kris Bones knows a bit about sampling. He makes sample-based music under the Genaside II moniker, and his pieces have been sampled by Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers. His body of work is part of a grand cycle of exchanged beats and melodic ideas. On his album Ad Finite, released on Tricky's Durban Poison label, Bones drops a surly dose of beat-laden noise that is equal parts jungle, opera, and "paranoid thugism" (to quote one of the track titles).
Bones's home studio includes two Yamaha 03Ds, a 300 MHz Macintosh G3 running Logic Audio, two E-mu 6400 samplers, and CD-ROMs galore. "All the Peter Siedlaczek's Advanced Orchestra CD-ROMs from Best Service, that's where we got most of the classical-sounding strings," says Bones. "We use the individual sounds, putting the violas, violins, basses, and cellos all in separately in fours, and we put them in at different volumes. Then we reverse a few bits and pieces to get an approximation of string and bow movements." Bones built many of the orchestral pieces on Ad Finite from scratch with friend and fellow engineer Marcus Brown "as if we had an orchestra in the house."
For the opening track, "The Genaside Will Not Be Televised," Bones reworked the theme of Gil-Scott Heron's famous spoken-word piece. He inserted a backing melody lifted from the Cape Fear soundtrack, building the instrumentation from scratch with Advanced Orchestra.
The free-verse monologue is an update of the original, recontextualized for working-class London. It is feverishly delivered by Bones's friend Maureen Tivit, an actress in the London area. "She did the song as if it were an acting job," says Bones. "She took it and learned the lyrics as if they were lines to a film. By the time we went to record, she'd memorized it. Because of that, I could get her to act it out as if she were on stage talking to an auditorium of people, trying to get a message across."
The vocals for this track, along with those recorded with Genaside mates Scotty and MC Killerman Archer, were recorded in Bones's flat. "What Killerman Archer does sounds like raw, live stuff anyway, so we do it at home. Besides, he has a tendency to just muck about in the house making lyrics, and he'd probably forget them by the time we got into a proper studio, so we take what we can get right then and there."
But apart from recording vocals and the occasional live bass or drum track, Genaside creates the bulk of its material with samplers and keyboards. "Marcus and I normally sit down and work on a melody. Then we'll spit it out as notation and work on it some more. We'll write for an orchestra, asking ourselves, 'Which notes would which instrument play?'" Once an arrangement has been finalized, the strings are individually recorded as audio tracks. "The songs with all the classical stuff, when we're running 30 to 40 strings on separate tracks, put the most strain on the computer. Sometimes you could actually hear Logic crying. We also had a few days of 'file movement.' The computer would move tracks back and forth in time, and it all started to get really mixed up."
And how did they manage to get around it? "We turned it off and went out for a couple of days. When we came back it was all right. We'd been working solid 12-hour days for six weeks in a row, and I think it just decided it needed a holiday."
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