Check The Status

What I’m up to…

It’s been a pretty nice couple of weeks here in the land of anonymity. I recently started working with with dope new producer, and we’ve already got some stuff laid down for a short little EP that will be arriving at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012. Check out his music, he comes from the world of electronic music producing drum and bass and dubstep. He’s damn talented at it too. Here’s an example of one of his tunes:

What is my style going to sound like mashed with his style? Trust me, it’s going to be pretty cool. Lo-Fi electronic hip-hop with some dubstep flavor? Maybe. We’re hoping some people are going to catch on and absolutely love it.

The whole of my free time is going to be spent writing lyrics, getting into the studio with CHRUNCHY and preparing that EP that’s going to drop. Keep a lookout for it, follow me on Twitter: @onetwentymn for updates related and non-related to on going projects. I don’t blog as much as I should, but keep checking here for more updates.

What I’m listening to…

It’s always cool to take a look at what artists (other than myself) are listening to. I believe it gives an extensive insight into where they might be drawing inspiration from, how the various genres they listen to can effect their overall sound and simply what’s on their iPod when they’re cruising around. Here’s my five favorites, listed from most plays to least plays. Even if they don’t have the most plays this music is still the most played out of my 7,000+ songs.

Hail Mary Mallon (Self Titled)

I’ve always been into anything Aesop Rock puts out, so when I heard Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz were putting something together I was stoked. The album dropped on 6.7.11 and it’s still getting played at once a day. This is my vote for the 2011 album of the year. No doubt.

Eyedea & Abilities – By The Throat

Rest In Peace to Eyedea. This album is a definite close second (going by the number of plays on my iPod) in fact this album is only off Hail Mary Mallon by three plays. Eyedea has always been an idol of mine. The way he could twist words and flows, and speak about the deepest range of human emotions has many times left me speechless. I don’t need to go any further, if you haven’t listened to Eyedea and Abilities (any of their albums) then get out and do that. Their music speaks for itself in more ways than one.

The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever

One of my all time favorite bands. I’m a huge Hold Steady fan, I saw them in concert last year and was as giddy as a school girl. Craig Finn is an awesome lyricist, his ability to tell the most detailed stories in song form never ceases to amaze me. This album has a range of songs like anthems, slower softer songs and the kind of song that feels like a three or four day binge on amphetamines.

Macklemore – The VS. Redux

I have no idea how I hadn’t heard of Macklmore until recently. He’s got a very literal and realistic sense to his music, but at the same time he can be incredibly humorous (see “And We Danced”). I think one of the reasons I relate to his music, especially this track, is because I’ve been through a lot of the same things he has “I was a couple moves away from being dead/ In that ER overdosing eyes bleeding red.” It’s funny, because I know exactly which place he’s referring to when he says that “…we sit and discuss God on lawn-chairs” – I’ve been there, I go there every week. Enough about me, check out Macklemore.

e-dubble – Written Thursday

I just found out about e-dubble this year, and this mashup of his lyrics and mashups of some popular songs really caught my attention. I don’t know how I stumbled on his music, but you should be listening. He’s easily risen to become one of my favorite rappers.

Well there it is…

My top five artists I’m listening to this year. Check them out, I’m sure you’ll love ’em if you love hip-hop and rock. What are you listening to? Got an artist to recommend? Let me know, comment below, harass me on Twitter (@onetwentymn #top5) or whatever else you can think of.

-OneTwenty

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New Track, How It Was Made

Take a listen. Let me know what you think…

The track above is the fruit of my (recent) labor. I think I did a pretty good job mixing it. The vocals sit better in the mix than most of my other songs. Let me know what you think about it.

So, whatcha’ make that with?

When I record I use Logic Pro, I feel that it’s the best DAW out there – especially for the money. It’s got the power and versatility that any artist needs to record their tracks. It works really well for my workflow, because it comes bundled with a great collection of soft synths and samplers. In all fairness, sampling with a soft sampler is not as easy or intuitive as an MPC. However, it works for me. When you listen to the track, you’ll notice it’s loaded with samples. Most of them come directly from Logic’s robust sample library. All these features are perfect for my workflow.

Blue Spark

My Blue Spark, a sexy condenser mic.

The only live audio in this track is my voice, the vocal tracks (there are three) were recorded with my blue spark. For $199 this mic is great for vocals, and pretty much everything else. The mic by itself has a bit of a ‘robotic tin’ kind of sound, so tracks usually need some warming up, for me that’s a little compression from a CLA-76 Compressor, then EQ’ed with a SSL G-Channel and then a wee bit of reverb with Logic’s wonderful Space Designer. If you use Logic and record Hip Hop vocals, or hell, ANY VOCALS, I highly recommend the SSL G-Channel plugin from Waves. Waves plugins are incredibly expensive but also highly recommended. In my opinion they’re worth it. I’m not trying to shill for Waves, but they do make some nice plugins. Some of their other plugins aren’t really worth the money one would spend on them. I like the idea of plugins like the Doubler, which takes audio and makes it sound like it’s doubled up or as if you recorded another take over it. This would be great for choruses and vocals but I just can’t dial it in to a point where it actually sounds good. Plus I’m not about to drop a shit load of money for a plugin that is pretty unnecessary if one has a mic. Just recorded your own over dubs.

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Nice to Meet You.

Hey there.

I’m OneTwenty, a rapper/producer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m not signed or even remotely known as an artist, as far as I know. I thought I’d start this blog to share my struggles with everyone, along with the occasional rant, beat, poem or story. Being a musician has always been my dream, right now I’m supporting my music by doing freelance graphic design. Although I love graphic design (and I’m not bad at it), I’ve wanted to be a musician since I was in the 6th grade. I unsuccessfully tried to start a pop-punk band with a few of my friends. I actually was in a band for awhile, we were semi-successful and I’ve never had more fun in my life. Constantly traveling around and playing shows at places like the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis or the (no longer open) Dinkytowner Cafe. We recorded a four song EP before everyone went off to college. Since then I’ve struggled trying to find an outlet for my ability (I think I’m okay at what I do). I’d really like to find a mentor, someone who could help me along, maybe I’ll find some luck with that in the future.

Enough about me, how about some music?

Check out my latest track, right now it’s just an instrumental, I’m working on the lyrics. I’ve tentatively titled it “Blood” because of a hook I came up with recently that I believe I’m going to use. I tried to go for a “LoFi” sound with this track, I’m hoping I accomplished that. Feedback is appreciated, either on my SoundCloud or right here.

Stay tuned for the vox to get tracked!