Saturday, January 15, 2011

//MSC: Benga- Diary of an Afro Warrior


I opted out of studying stat to enjoy some music and review some physics, which may sound like a funny combination but not to those who're familiar with a particular artist by the name of 'Benga'. Who is Benga you may ask? Only one of the early pioneers of what is today referred to as 'dubstep' (linked below).


Today I realised Benga's music is as much of a workout as his real name is to pronounce ( Adegbenga Adejumo? lol wut? ). I listened to a rip of the 3 x 12 vinyl release of his 'Diary of an Afro Warrior' album which only had 9 of his songs in contrast to other releases which I guess included somewhere around 13 or 14 tracks. I had listened to his music before and all it accomplished was getting me a bit confused. I'd listen at different times and always vibe differently with it but tonight, as I listened properly and sober, I was able to feel the flow properly for the first time.

I know what separates him from the rest of the dubstep bandwagon pack. It's his shuffling drums. They sound so compact, soft, a tiny bit distorted or downed in pitch. He refuses to settle into the regular kick, snare, kick, snare pattern with rhythmic hi-hats formula and goes on to use more kicks (some sounding different or louder than others) following particular rhythms that are syncopated with the shuffling hats. He keeps the snare compact and high in treble (with very little to no reverb) and a little bit loud enough for it to almost stand out from the rest of this beat but not by too much. He's also nuts enough to fill in more gaps by putting in the occasional clap. Now, if you think that's not enough, this guy will actually go further and add in some random ass exotic drum-lines (Usually African) in order to give a rather spicy sound, he keeps it low but you can usually hear it.

As for the melodies- he keeps them fresh and wide like a sea-food vendor. He doesn't settle on just a small collection of sounds but many that he'll use interchangeable within a piece of music. They might sound familiar or rather stock (makes me think he loves the Fl-studio set) but he'll actually expand his horizons sometimes or else he'll use the sounds very well in good context. He'll create a rather sharp flow with his sounds from razor bass sounds (unlike the deep fart noises Rusko usually goes with) and also adds some techno-influenced synth sounds to keep some sort of melody ontop. All this combined with a creative and never-too-repetitive structure keeps your ears wanting to hear more (strangely).

While the flow might seem a bit dark and tense, strangely, it's actually quite calming. He does take his time to release with some beautiful and atmospheric sounds sometimes (reminding me quite a bit of a clean Boards of Canada) but he definitely embodies the feeling his name gives. It's definitely not hard to understand where his influences come from.

Now, to the relevant side of all this. Benga's music will definitely peak interest to those whom have ears trained for musical rhythm but otherwise it'll probably just fuck your fuck up. It's very detailed music and when used right, you could probably cause some havoc to some poor soul with no sense of musical pattern. Quietly sneak into your victim's room while they are asleep and lay down a speaker of some sort connected to a player with this music on. Leave it with the volume low (the treble low and and the upper-bass to to lower mid range frequencies high if you can control that) so that it doesn't alert them and let them not-enjoy their sleep.

The impact of this being played to a casual listener is quite beautiful. The idea is that this music can cause slight irritation and annoyance that builds up when not fully using the ear. So it shouldn't be that hard to use. Just don't try it on any pot-heads unless you're wanting to hear some sort of 'Oh, dude, this is so trippy @___@'.

If anyone is even reading this, I'd advise to listen and experiment with the use of this music. Also to let me know how it goes by commenting below.

Autobots roll out.