Today I’m uploading my latest track and it’s called “Aleppo” which, in case you’ve been living under a rock, or are the failed US presidential candidate Gary Johnson, is Syria’s Stalingrad; the setting of a brutal stalemate between pro and anti government forces (and a few other factions to boot) for the last 4 years or so.
Anyway, I digress a bit…
The track can be found on:
SoundCloud (.mp3 file), or
BandCamp (.wav) file
The track started with me intending to simply write a really hard and dark track. I was always intending to lean heavily on influences from the dark drum and bass scene (Limewax, Current Value, Counterstrike, The Panacea, Donny et. al.) and, shamelessly, I did exactly that!
There’s a snare from the Limewax and Panacea Skullstep sample pack and there is a pad at the beginning and end of the track that has straight up been lifted from a Machine Code sample pack (Cheers Tim & Dean). I know it’s not overly creative but fuck it, it worked well, sounded good, so why spent hours changing it or manipulating samples for the sake of it. Especially if they work!
As is now usual, the track has been written at 110bpm. By way of structure the track runs as follows;
- 32 bar intro
- 16 bar breakdown
- 32 bar break (first drop)
- 16 bar breakdown
- 16 bar build up break
- 64 bar outro (second drop)
Fairly standard by way of structure. My shortest first drop to date but I think it works pretty well.
So, how did the track come to be entitled “Aleppo”?
Well, I’ve included a sample within the track of a female vocal. Whether or not it was intended to have a middle eastern feel to it, that’s what I got from it.
It also had a real creepy, deathly quality to it. I got the feeling that the woman performing this piece was feeling a sense of anguish or loss or distress – and that resonated with me and got me thinking.
It got me thinking about the number of women in Syria who have lost husbands, sons, fathers and what not and, naturally, my attention was then drawn to Aleppo which has been the scene of hugely significant battles in recent months (check this BBC article for more).
So this track wasn’t conceived with under the premise that I was going to write a track about the plight of civilians in Aleppo and it was not originally intended to be an overtly political track. Indeed, there’s nothing in the track itself that directly points to Aleppo or makes a direct reference.
However, music does not need to be explicit. Art should not be so direct that it renders insignificant the art of contemplation.
Music and art should be thought provoking and by entitling my track “Aleppo” I hope that it does provoke thought within the mind of whoever listens to it.
It may be that the thought that comes to mind is, “this is fucking shite”. But I’d prefer it if that thought is centred more on the situation within the city once boasting a population in excess of 2 million people.
And if the brutal undertones of the track and the repetitive, relentless and noisy basses, kicks and snares within provide a musical simile to the onslaught of mortars, missiles and IED’s in Aleppo then my music, my art, has served it’s purpose of provoking thought.
As usual the track is available to download for free and I welcome any comments – good or bad – and I’d be most grateful if you’d share the track, re-post it, stick on FaceBook, tell your Nan about it or whatever the fuck you want. Above all I hope you enjoy it.