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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fist Fam Producer Al Lover Builds Hip-Hop Beats Out of Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 12:58 PM

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If you thought 13 & God was an interesting combination of the worlds of hip-hop (Oakland's Themselves) and indie-rock (the Notwist), you should check out what Al Lover, producer for the Fist Fam (an All Shook Down favorite), has been working on: hip-hop remixes of songs by modern psychedelic/garage groups like Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Shapes Have Fangs, The Moonhearts, Jeff the Brotherhood, and King Tuff.

Lover's free new album, Reverberating Distortion, takes songs by 10 bands and remixes them into hip-hop beats -- though you really notice the hip-hop flavor of the tracks only when you play them on a stereo with sufficient bass response. The result is what could pass for an instrumental breakdown (or raveup) in each of the bands' live sets: a (usually) wordless groove that uses the nervy energy and trashy reverb of its source material to create something that doesn't quite live comfortably in the world of hip-hop.

Lover, who is originally from North Carolina, says the S.F. garage-rock scene inspired him to combine its raunchy sound with the hip-hop he was producing with the Fist Fam. He explored the idea in October 2010 with a pair of beats that sampled Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, the current project of rock mastermind John Dwyer. "John and Ty were both pumped on the idea from what I could tell," Lover tells All Shook Down. "John was super down, and granted me permission to sample whatever I wanted. Ty was a bit skeptical due to the mysogyny in most rap, but was down after I assured him we wouldn't take that route for the song (and has been super down for me to sample his tunes ever since)."

The resulting double single ("All Mine/Part of the Game" ) features vocals by Gus Cutty of the Fist Fam, and gives a taste of how effective garage rock can be for making hip-hop beats.

For the Reverberating Distortion project, Al reached out to bands at this year's South by Southwest festival, who were all happy to lend their music to be remixed. The result features garage/psych bands from Austin, Vermont, and even Puerto Rico. There are plans for another iteration of the project, with even more bands from the local scene, and perhaps a collaboration with New York garage group the Beets.

Reverberating Distortion is free to download at Al Lover's website; there are also streams of individual tracks, as well as links to the albums sampled. The only thing missing is a rapper willing to step up to these beats. We can't wait to hear that.

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