blissblog: “Amen–they wouldn’t let it die!”

Funnily enough I’m just finishing off a new ragga jungle track I’m doing with a Bounty Killer accappella, loads of layered breaks (like that producer Reynolds quoted on blissblog), and a dirty great big bass (like remarc was talking about). And of course, I’m sticking some Amens in there at key points, and the impact it has on focusing the rhythm is extraordinary. They seem to mesh with whatever they’re put with that’s in time. Now, two things spring to mind.

One, I’m using the standard 170bpm-ish break we all know and love. But, on a machine that’s currently dead and being resuscitated, I have an MP3 of the original Amen break, which is of course at funk tempo. So — who sped up the break to what we know? Have lots of people done their own versions (I’d be a bit surprised if that’s the case cos the Amens we hear are pretty uniform in their sound — I think the artefacts in the signal caused by the original sampling and timestretching process sound common in all the versions I’ve heard. But I could be completely wrong. Maybe sampling up and timestretching your very own copy of Amen, ideally from a copy of the original vinly, is a rite of passage in the drum’n’bass producer community. Or maybe what we’re hearing is the sonic signature of Akai and Emu samplers, two variations on a bit-mangling theme; talk about music of the machines. Then again, maybe the jungle Amen is a sample of a hiphop record that itself sampled the original vinyl… I’d really like to know what the deal is here.

Second, who’s getting royalties for this break? Has it become de-facto public domain or is someone making a mint out of D’n’B producers? Can you take out a subscription — 12 months of Amen-sampling for $99 a month?

And is the drummer getting any dough from all these people using his playing?

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