E-Digging Gems

Myspace has somewhat of a poor reputation as a place for finding good music.  Apparently, allowing any kid with a hacked copy of Fruity Loops and a 10 ringgit mic he bought at an audio store behind Ampang Point to post his newest ‘hit’ doesn’t result in an online community chock-full of talent. In fact, from my experience I think it’s safe to say about 80% of the music on Myspace is terrible. Not just regular terrible, like how some people describe ‘I Heart Huckabees’ (which was a damn fine movie) – I mean god-awful, excruciatingly painful noise that’s worse than the most terrifyingly bad music you could ever imagine (like if Lil’ Jon, William Hung and Def Leppard decided to collab on a cover of ‘It’s Raining Men’).

Fortunately, if you’re willing to put in a bit of effort (and you know of a good artist to start with), spending a few hours in the online labyrinth that is Myspace can occasionally be a musically rewarding experience.

For example, if you’re in to sample-based instrumental hip hop (a la DJ Shadow, RJD2 etc…), definitely check out Australian producer Saint Surly. If this dude is not relatively well known in five years I will eat my hat. Although all of the tracks on his Myspace page are solid, I would recommend spending a few minutes listening to ‘Sandcastles’ (an ill beat that out-Pete Rocks Pete Rock) and Carboard City (an amazing, haunting track with superbly crafted drums).

Also have a look at this dude Miller here and here. A producer I found on the forums at The-Breaks.com (an excellent resource for crate diggers, djs and producers), Miller produces funky, complicated boom-bap tracks that would be dope rhymed over but can be listened to as songs in their own right as well. I especially like Miller because he’s mastered the unglamorous side of beat-making: the endless hours spent hunched over your mpc getting the mix absolutely perfect. It can take forever and requires a ton of patience, but it makes such a huge difference to the final product.

Another The-Breaks find of mine is experimental, jazzy, off-beat (figuratively and often literally) hip hop duo 2fly Shirpas. The group’s mc has an amazing and almost intentionally awkward flow that pairs really well with the producer’s penchant for flipping obscure samples in innovative ways and for combining divergent sounds into focused, cohesive beats.

A slightly better known producer who I’ve been in to lately is DJ Tonk, a Japanese beat maker who’s gaining recognition for his mellow, jazz-inspired sound. On his Myspace page check out the track ‘Love,’ which opens with a piano loop that was meant to be sampled and then segues into a theme built on a sample also used by People Under the Stairs for ‘Acid Raindrops‘.

Like with any open, democratized process or institution, Myspace suffers from its fair share of mediocrity. However, if you’re willing to endure the sub-par and wade through the pedestrian, there is plenty of dope music out there to find. In fact, e-digging in all its forms is almost as fun as real digging. Almost.


PS, many thanks to Angry for keeping our post rate up while I was in Vic this weekend.  

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