Baauer created a phenomena with his track “Harlem Shake” and opened many opportunities for his DJ/producer career. In a recent interview with RedBull Music, he divulged that the “Harlem Shake” was attached to his name and made people an association of a style specific to him. Baauer has been working on his début album ever since and he is striving to be more than a one-hit wonder by using a unique instrument, the world. Read more inside about Baauer’s new album technique and how natural sounds from the world around us.
Baauer and His “Natural” Sound
When you break through as an artist it is a tremendous achievement. Then when you break through with a viral hit, you are faced with immense opportunities and a big challenge. The challenge for Baauer after the Harlem Shake is to create a piece of work that shows his audience that he is more than just a series of crazy videos and club mosh pits. Baauer and Nick Hook, producer and form Red Bull Music Academy student, have been working on Baauer’s album for over a year. An interesting practice they used for finding sounds and inspiration was travelling around the world collecting natural sounds. It was more than just finding cool sounding samples. Baauer and Nick were on the search for a story. You can catch the full 27-minute documentary below and we highlighted some interesting sounds they collected as well.
United Arab Emirates: An instrument that was interesting to hear was the Haban or goat skin bag-pipe. This thing had a unique sound to it that was squeky and very sharp. Also, Baauer sampled the voice of a camel. The camel’s grunt would be used great as a vocal sample in a trap style track. (5:20)
Japan: Gagaku is an ancient Japanese performance that features one continuous sound track with no chorus or verses. The music continually evolved without a set structure to each piece. Also, the pitch of Gagku is much different than other genres of music. (It is kind of similar to the way jazz is produced.) Ainu is a traditional Japanese tradition that is slowly fading. An Ainu chant is very interesting that varies in pitch and rises and falls. The chant has numerous possibilities in electronic music production and the format alone is something interesting to try. (15:12) & (20:00)
Natural Sounds in Music Production
” Always loved using weird sounds and transforming them… like a goat screaming.” –Baauer via Reddit AMA
Natural sounds and practices from other genres of music is something that can contribute a lot to electronic music production. The thing about electronic music production is that the rules are very flexible and continually being written. There is no boundary or classical way of composing. It all lies within rhythm and melodies. Natural sounds add a new rhythm that is completely unique and cannot be created outside the recording. Much like sampling in the sense that there is only one source you can extract that sound from except with recording natural sounds, only you have the access. Using natural sounds not only adds inspiration but pushes the producer to add more to a track and build a complete story around the sound.
Have you ever used natural sounds in your productions?