Rhythim is Rhythim – It is what it is ( Carbinax Reconstruction Mix )

Rhythim is Rhythim - It is what it is ( Carbinax Reconstruction Mix )

Way back in 1988, I’d just been exposed to acid house with tracks such as “acid man” by Jolly Roger, “we call it acieeeeed” by D-Mob, “Where’s your child ?” by Bam Bam, and then a track called “Big Fun” by Inner City appeared. Such an amazing vibe on that track to this day.
I went to the city with a few mates to buy the Big Fun track, and in the process discovered an album that would change my life.

That album was a compilation called “Techno – The New Dance Sound Of Detroit”

We all got back to a friend’s house, fired it on the turntable, and the first track that came on was “It is what it is”. This was the opening salvo in a collection of tracks that completely blew my mind, and expended on the epiphany that Kraftwerk started with “The Model” 8 or 9 years earlier. Big Fun was on it, which I intentionally bought it for, and another track…..”Techno Music” by Juan Atkins was another mind-blowing track and this was the first time I encountered the names Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Blake Baxter and Shakir.

I instinctively knew this album was different, and that it was important. I’d no idea at that time just how big a thing Techno would become. At that time, it was underground, innovative, and pure, and very far removed from the later derivatives that happy hardcore ravers wanted to also label as Techno…..which really weren’t. 

So that’s the background to why “It is what it is” is such a special track for me.

I’ve listened to it for the past few decades, but when it played the other day, I was deconstructing it in my head. Sometimes I listen for pleasure, and other times I have my producer / remixer hat on and I’m more analytical, listening to just the bass, or just the snare pattern, or home in on one frequency, isolating all others. I thought “I’d like to try and re-construct this”. The next track came on……..I quickly forgot about it. 

I have over 2000 albums on my phone, and way more single tracks. It’s always set to shuffle, so when “It is what it is” played twice in the space of a few hours, it almost felt like a nudge, and I found myself thinking about trying to reconstruct the track again. 

I spent a whole day using Rip-X to split the original track into stems, so I could better hear what was going on. The acid line was easy, as was the bass. Trying to prise apart the snares and hats was tricky, but the part that gave me the most trouble was the Strings sound. I layered 3 synths ( Sonic Charge Synplant 2, A.A.S String Studio, and Cherry Audio DCO-106 ) to arrive at something that was approximate, but not identical.
All the beats were programmed in NI Maschine 2 using 808 and 909 kits.

Most of the second day was spent finessing the EQ, Compression and overall balance. 
I could always find more things to endlessly tweak to the point where it would just never be finished. I know I’ll listen and hear things afterwards that I’d want to fix, but I reacjed a point was happy enough with it to put it up on soundcloud.

Big respect to Rhythim is Rhythim ( a.k.a. Derrick May )for being true to his inner creative imagination and bringing this track into existence and releasing it when it was so very different to everything else at the time, and so ahead of it’s time. This track, and the rest of this album, unlocked something in me that also wanted to innovate…..to combine the warmth of the soul with the precision of the machine, and this album, in 1988, is basically where that journey started in earnest. 

See what you think below…………