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"Tack-Fu Presents the Production Team: 85 decibel Monks"

A blow by blow account on how each track came to pass.

Enter Dependents
This track took 2 years to produce. The drum beat was sampled from Bernard Perdie which the Chaircrusher flipped in midi, replacing every snare hit and kick drum with his selected drum sounds. I lifted a cello line from a double LP of just solo cello music. ManChild of Mars Ill was in Iowa City for a gig, so we visited the studio, he wrote a verse, and he spit the lyrics in just two takes. He is a pro. Lord 360 was in town for a gig six months later, so we invited him up to the studio to help us finish the track. He kind of struggled because he didn’t write the lyrics to that specific beat, but the best take made it on CD. Next, Matt Grundstad entered the picture to lay down extra percussion and basslines which elevated the whole piece to a different level. Gov. Auto Funkstar of the Bad Fathers put down the last verse, and Cousin put down a cool chorus at the end of the track. Jethro is the man who made the mix as crisp as it is…his contribution cannot be underestimated.

Message for Goyum
The Chaircrusher handed me a fully produced track to check out. The initial raw beat and bassline slayed me, so I lifted two measures and started to work on a whole different vibe. Another breakbeat was blended in and I sampled percussion sounds off a gypsy record after that. Erin McCuskey handed me a conspiracy theory record that was meant to play along with a film strip, you know, the kind of record with the “bonk” sound to indicate “switch to the next image.” International bankers are evil, by the way.

U.S.A Way
The Beat Farmer handed me a dope beat and bassline, so I edited the track down to its basic form, then added a horn stab along with a small skit from the old school comedy team “Bob & Ray.”

Oh Yea!
This one was pieced together with a bass riff I came up with on my old Yamaha keyboard, two breakbeats were then blended together, along with an extra house kick and hi-hat patterns. A chorus from the Ray Charles Singers was sampled, add DJ Skwint, mix and stir.

Hot Water for Tea
Things get a bit hazy on this one. Myself and the Beat Farmer were power drinking (among other things) and I kept suggesting samples to try on his Fruity Loops program. We woke up the next day and agreed….this track is a keeper!

Russian Percussion
The Chaircrusher and I constructed a nice mid-tempo drum beat behind a sample I'd dug up and chopped to death. We layered vocals from a “learning to speak Russian” record, and added funky vocal effects to them, which really sound awesome in a pair of headphones. Next, a vocal snippet from an Yma Sumac record was added at the end of the track to give it an Eastern European vibe.

Interlude in E minor
The Chaircrusher handed me a fully produced joint that Hartless and I re-arranged and edited. Hartless found a vocal sample to bridge the short number to the next track.

Lie Down Beside You
Erin McCuskey brought her cello over to the studio to record some riffs she was messing around with. Later on, I found a heavy rock beat that fit the vibe of one of the riffs she laid down. Think Led Zeppelin type heavy. Cousin of the Bad Fathers insisted that the one and only Rachel Kann HAD to be on the track. After a few phone calls and some demo exchanges, Rachel arrived in Iowa City. She laid down the vocal tracks; the Chaircrusher mixed it all together, chopped up the drums here and there, and doubled up the riffs to complete an excellent number.
A Music Video featuring Rachel was shot a few years later!

Evolution is Outdated
When Vadim was on tour back in 2002, the 85 decibel Monks opened for him. He was really digging our music, so I gave him a disk of some stuff we were working on. We kept in touch via email, and a year later he was in town again on tour. After the show, Vadim let us listen to a cd of his new beats and he said, "take one that you like!" I picked out a pretty raw beat, took it home, and I started to tinker with the drums, shored up the sample, and took out the record crunch. I passed the new version over to the Bad Fathers Jethro and Matt Grundstand for more enhancements. We got Blueprint and Illogic to spit a few bars while they were in town, in exchange for me promoting their show. The Bad Fathers finished up the rest of the track with their lyrics. Desdamona added an introduction.

Dumb Talkers
I found a nice little sample from a classical record and put a drum beat I had made for another track behind it, just to see how it would go over. What a combo! It fit perfect and the Bad Fathers put the icing over the cake. Jethro mixes and serves up an excellent dish!

Fixing a Hole
We spent the most time mixing this track down than any other track on the disk hands down. First off it was tricky to isolate the sounds. The bassline is more like a low rumble. The drum beat has a deep kick, so it was a pain in the ass to make sure each lower tone wasn’t conflicting with each other. The sitar and flute sample had to be rearranged to ride with the beat. After it was finished, I let Cousin talk me into remixing it again, this time with a vocal hook and DJ Johnny Sixx putting down some scratches. We were editing the track with extra reverse snares right up to the very end of the project. What a headache!

I added a lower toned, real basic bassline to a jazzy drum beat, and the results were much better than anticipated. Add in a piano riff I bit, and this track was heading into the “dope” category. The Chaircrusher contributed a niffy guitar lick and Mr. Payne came through with a nice melody on his keyboard. Cousin heard the results and he flipped! He had to put his vocals over it! The results are not your typical style of hip-hop music, but it worked for us!

Higher Frequency
Hartless introduced to me a loop he made by combining several different elements of music behind a drum beat he made with his 808. The Chaircrusher and I added horn and guitar riffs with a crisp hi-hat. Braille heard the track on a cd I sent him and was totally inspired to write and more spoken word piece about him trying to reach a higher frequency. This one is a gem.

Absence of You
A bassline sample from Blockhead (Aesop’s Rock producer) and two different riffs from Hebrew records, backed behind 3 different lo-fi break beats blending into each other. Sev Statik was inspired to write lyrics to friend he had lost touch with.

Poem on a Theme by Lyn Hejinian
What do you get when a producer adds a jazzy drum beat and a jazzy stand-up bassline, a rather odd pitched down guitar sample and a xylophone riff? A phat beat kid! Cousin supplies the lyrics and Jethro added the final touches to present this excellent piece.

Weed Cookies
I put together one drum beat and one sample lifted from a cheesy jazz album. Matt Grundstand adds a lovely piano riff and Jethro mixed it down tight. Cousin thought directions to his tasty recipe of weed cookies would fill out the vibe. Gov. Auto Funkstar contributes with his Old Dirty Bastard vocal back-ups…and the end results? Hilarious!

Key Player
Jason Key gave me a cd of 4 tracks he was working on. I picked off one and added extra snares and kicks to the beat some added beef. Mr. Payne was digg’en the vibe and touched up the track with a bassline and a flowing keyboard contributions.

Mr. World
I was in a funk. I produced everything on this track, but my creatively was bone dry with ideas for extra layers of sound. Mr. Payne, Chaircrusher, and drumk came to the rescue with a deeper bassline to compliment the existing bassline; they made random noises on the pick-up of a guitar, processed through an old guitar pedal, and keyboard additions made the whole track more than complete.

Mongolian Fire
A beautiful track drumk produced in the mod tracker program. The results were pretty lo-fi. So, I made the commitment to take the track apart piece-by-piece, enhance every sample with compression, computer plug-ins, and even blended in single drum hits to make the beat thump. Now will bangs on your hi-fi stereo with all its wonder and glory.

AM Beat
This is an interesting piece that combines lo-fi and high-fi elements into one track. An electrical storm recorded on an AM stereo, drum beats and samples with all of the record hiss and clicks included. Basically, a prime example of the grungy aspects of music and sound working together in unison.

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