Special Request – Amnesia
Paul Woolford, AKA Special Request, just put out Modern Warfare (EPs 1-3), full of banging throwback rave CHOOOONS.
But that’s not what I came here to talk about, exactly.
I came here to talk about that instantly-recognizable (to people of a certain age, anyway) drumbeat up there in “Amnesia”.
When I heard it, I immediately thought of this:
The Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold
A more genius piece of loose-limbed, whiteboy-doggerel funk was never made. When this one comes on in the car, I still want to recline my seat, hang my arm out the window, and be the surly, cool, lowriding star of the slow-mo movie in my head.
Seriously, turn that up LOUD, and if your arms and legs don’t start to move of their own accord, I don’t even want to know about it.
(And as soon as I can figure out a way to do it, I’m going to write about the album it appears on. It’s just surprisingly hard to write about something I consider essentially perfect.)
“Fool’s Gold” was a rave and Madchester anthem; but its skeletal bounce is actually pretty unrepresentative of the rest of the band’s output.
And that’s in part because the drum loop that provides the song’s backbone didn’t actually come from (excellent) Stone Roses drummer Reni, either.
It likely comes a drum break on this record, from James Brown associate Bobby Byrd:
Bobby Byrd – Hot Pants (Bonus Beats)
(The same drum break was probably also sampled for the rhythmic basis of this.)
“Fool’s Gold” also has a minimal, shadowy bassline that is instantly memorable, playfully cavorting around that insistent head-nodding drumbeat.
But even that isn’t 100% original; since Stone Roses’ nimble-fingered bassist Mani was inspired by something else:
Mani added his own unique contribution. His all-night partying often met with disapproval from Squire at rehearsals, but Mani said clubbing was for research, and he was looking for ‘things to pinch’. The bass line from Young MC’s club hit “Know How” was a case in point, and it was used as further inspiration on “Fool’s Gold”.
Young MC – Know How
This short video sums up how the Dust Brothers (and probably Flea, though I’m having trouble verifying that bit via Wikipedia), in turn, concocted the Young MC track from prior sources:
From Shaft to Fools Gold – How 3 seconds of Isaac Hayes changed British music
As we get older, it’s tempting to think “it’s all the same old song”, and bemoan the lack of originality in the world today.
But in another way, realizing that all these different people – separated by years and genres and scenes and geography and color and class and circumstance and technology – are in fact all literally playing (and dancing) to the same beat;
Well, that’s indescribably-beautiful.
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(From Wikimedia Commons):
CC BY-SA 3.0
Uploaded by Moehre1992
Created: 24 November 2010