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Arranging an Album/Beat-tape

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#1 Grifty-Rodriguez


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Posted Yesterday, 08:37 PM

So i keep telling myself "i'm gonna release some grifty shit."   Maybe charge a dolla for it.  I dunno maybe make it free.


What keeps jumping in the way is a lack of cohesiveness.  I don't know if you've ever checked out any grifty shit but suffice to say it's deranged, often bad sounding, and all over the place thematically.


This is a problem i'm sure many of you have.  I end up with a smattering of random beats and works, none of them composed with any regard to the others, none of them with any real transition or flow, and no concept from which to arrange with.


Producers like KNX come to mind, on one hand, who just seem to drop their latest work indiscriminately into a four track "tape" and release it.  But then there's releases like the incredible "Donuts", half of its genius coming from its seamless, and seemingly intentional arrangement and planning.


But neither of these examples ever gets me anywhere while i'm sitting at my laptop, staring at my deep archive of random sound-art, wondering how to put an album together out of it.


So i thought this thread could serve as a jumping board for producers to give advice to others.  I want to know; How do you go about arranging your releases?  Do you place tracks chronologically?  Do you arrange you albums to flow as if you were performing a live set?  Or maybe do you think of a concept before even making anything at all, a la "you're dead", and craft your tracks with the album's specific purpose in mind? OOORRR do you just randomly throw a bunch of crap in an itunes playlist and hit "randomize" and release the result?  None of them are necessarily better or worse, i'm just wondering how it's commonly done.  It's a brick wall for me time and time again, and i suspect so for many others as well.

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#2 James Frank.

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Posted Yesterday, 10:24 PM

i like to set different sets of rules for myself depending on the project...


for example, at some point down the line i have a beat tape planned where i will only be sampling Scott Walker joints.

another project i had in mind involved rules like "no computers" and/or only a certain type of genre can be sampled.

i think looking at it from, say a Madlib-like perspective is very helpful -- because you tend to start categorizing your various styles of production in an OCD-like manner that makes it easier to envision as a whole project.


i admire people that can take the extra step from there and not only form a cohesive sound throughout a project, but also thematically link the production style to some metaphorical purpose that serves the beat tape/album's concept...but that kind of stuff tends to happen mainly in the beat scene, with folks like Jeremiah Jae, clipping, and all the other obvious references.

#3 Low Hiss

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Posted Today, 02:45 AM

Great thread idea, Grifty.


I'm kinda in the same position as you, I have beats with different kinds of moods, sample genres etc and making a cohesive piece out of these seems quite difficult.

Like James Frank said, I'm sure having a base concept or a set of rules before starting to work on the beats that will make the actual album or beat tape is the best way to approach it.


But when you already have the beats and want to put them together, one thing I found is interludes & skits really help.

I would group the beats that can be sequenced "as is" (because they have the same style, idea or whatever) and create interludes or skits to flow from one idea to the next group of beats.

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