Friday, September 01, 2006

Fertilizing Daisies

East Flatbush Project - Tried By 12 (Autechre Remix)

‘Tried by 12’ by East Flatbush Project was one of the standout hip hop cuts of 1996 when it was originally released by 10/30 Uproar Records. East Flatbush Project were a Brooklyn-based collective of producers and MCs, masterminded by Spencer Bellamy. ‘Tried by 12’ featured the rapper DeS’s compelling delivery over a sparse, staccato beat and Eastern-sounding string loop. Unlike the majority of posturing gangster rap, ‘Tried By 12’ explored the grim reality of violence on the streets (“Beef starts with the shove and ends with the shovel”), revealing a mindset that it’s better to kill than be killed (“So who’d you rather be? The murdered or the murderer?”) and ending with a liturgical list of deceased friends.

The track was given a new lease of life when a series of influential electronic producers were let loose for a remix package released in the US on Chocolate Industries and the UK by Ninja Tune in 1998. The release featured reworks by artists including Squarepusher, Funkstörung, The Herbaliser and Autechre, who conjure up an inhuman slice of jagged machine funk, with the vocals manipulated to the point of incomprehension. The first time I heard it I checked my needle for fluff. The remix offers a nightmarish vision of a future music made by sonic cyborgs as well as providing a tantalising glimpse of how a hip hop album produced by Autechre could have sounded.

Buy 'Tried By 12 Remixes' from the Ninja Tune shop
Spencer Bellamy discography
Autechre artist page at Warp Records
Buy Autechre mp3s from Bleep