Loud Slow Rules! Raccoon Tycoon Mixtape Vol. 2 is now available right here!
Loud Slow Rules is a compilation that defies both logic and reason. Some may ask – why does it exist? I’m not sure I can provide an answer. Much like Shakespeare’s classic play “All’s Well That Ends Well”, this is part comedy, part tragedy. It defies classification or reason.
This compilation is a focused study of an error I made in Audacity back around Christmas time. While tinkering with the tempo setting I accidentally slowed down a project I was working on and laughed at the results. Some days later I wondered what would happen if I applied my slowdown technique to popular music.
Before we dissect punk rock with the power of modern computing we should stop to ask ourselves an important question. How valuable are the tenets of punk rock and hardcore? How important is it to be loud and fast in 2015? Sometimes I hear new bands that are supposedly “fast” and they turn out to be tepid and slow. Likewise, sometimes I hear new bands that are not very loud, even though they may be carrying the banner of some long forgotten DIY band every night. The structures and formatting found in punk and hardcore are rigid, unchanging principles that were written before many of us were born. They tell us that it is important to be both fast and loud but are these superlatives mutually exclusive?
Surprisingly, detuned guitars from 1981 sound very similar to the heavy metal of today. Here, The Effigies sound like the latest Satyricon record. Washington DC hardcore pioneers United Mutation slowed down 33% sounds like Exhumed. The gigantic rhythmic tempo at the heart of 45 Grave’s “Wax” is uncovered for all to see when its speed is diminished.
When you slow down the breakneck hardcore tempos, strange things start to happen. Here, the Sex Pistols wall of guitars sounds like Carcass. The frantic guitar work of The Germs becomes unwound when the tempo is frayed and distorted to a crawl – turning “Richie Dagger’s Crime” into what could be an unreleased Fu Manchu song. The Angry Samoans and the Dead Kennedys both sound like the beginning of a campy monster cartoon when reduced to by twenty-five percent. The strange wobbly melody at the center of the Beastie Boys “Riot Fight” is heightened when the speed is reduced by 39 percent. Lyle Preslar’s guitar on this Minor Threat classic is transformed into a lush detuned wall-of-noise. Some of these songs may even surprise you. I was amazed when I first heard the tortured, pulsating guitar tone that is buried underneath The Randoms “Let’s Get Rid Of NY”.
But the real reason I chose to slow down these classics isn’t to mock them – it’s to reveal how fragile the composition is. After hearing these songs for twenty or thirty years it becomes easy to forget that Punk wasn’t well produced or over-directed by studio executives in satin baseball jackets. These recordings are raw – they have cracks and flaws in them and those pronounced areas of awesomeness become clearer when we hear them at a different speed.
- X-Ray Spex – Oh Bondage Up Yours!
- The Germs – Richie Dagger’s Crime
- Sex Pistols – Bodies
- Crass – Darling
- Angry Samoans – Lights Out
- The Clash – Lost In The Supermarket
- Descendents – I Like Food
- Dead Boys – Sonic Reducer
- Randoms – Let’s Get Rid Of NY
- Dead Kennedys – Religious Vomit
- Agent Orange – Bloodstains
- United Mutation – Own Way
- The Effigies – Haunted Town
- Wasted Youth – Fuck Authority
- Ramones – Beat On The Brat
- Beastie Boys – Riot Fight
- 45 Grave – Wax
- Gorilla Biscuits – New Direction
- Minor Threat – Steppin’ Stone
- Side By Side – Backfire
- The Damned – Neat Neat Neat
- Youth Of Today – Slow Down
- X-Ray Spex – I Live Off You
- The Faith – Slow Down
Raccoon Tycoon Records R019