January 19, 2021 2 min read 105 Comments

One of the places I've been spending more time the past few months is a subreddit called r/makinghiphop. It's certainly not the subreddit I would have expected to be hanging out in, but it's been a great resource for feedback as I've been working on There Is No_System.

Every week they have a handful of different competitions that are mostly just meant as a creative challenge. There are challenges for low-fi hip-hop (the study-beats you've probably listened to one afternoon or late night while you were trying to focus), writing/rapping, and one called the One Kit Challenge.

I've never really participated because I've been trying to finish the album, but last week I was intrigued by the folder of samples. The instructions are simple: Build something out of the pack of sounds. You can chop them up and process things as much as you want, but you have to only work with what's in the folder.

It's always interesting to see what people do. I started thinking about a Spanish lounge song sample that was included and began to think about what I could extract from it. I guess I was feeling a little funky. I'm more influenced by jazz and alternative rock than most current hip-hop, so I started to build out something that ended up being more of a song. I've been tinkering with building sample synthesizers, so the chopped-up samples went into keyboards I could play.


Here are the samples I chose to use and another track that shows how I ended up processing them

 



If you're interested in what others made, you can find those entries in the thread that's here. It's fascinating to listen to how different all of the approaches are. There's some really cool work. 

Anyway, I guess my design aesthetic will always be, on some level, remix. Whether it's chopping up and reusing samples or building new designs out of individual photos or illustrations, all sorts of things get reused. I've always known that, but it becomes more apparent when I start playing around with a problem like this one.

If I do any more challenges, I'll share the work here too. New shirt tomorrow. Stay tuned.


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