Album Auto-nalysis is a regular Counterzine feature where we ask some of our favorite artists to breakdown their albums track-by-track, to provide further insight into the thoughts, feelings, and artistic processes that went into making them. For this edition, we asked Lincoln, England big beat plunderphonics producer Lemon Melon to detail thier recent album ‘Des Winks’.
1. “The Barydance”
Lemon Melon: Based on an excerpt from Don Quixote, the concept was to have a progressively building structure that became more intense as it grew. The original break was more of a straight-time funk groove, but I wanted the whole track to have an organically performed UK garage/two-step beat feel. The idea that Baryshnikov would refer to his own dancing as a brand seemed particularly funny, and the short quiet breaks were supposed to be similar to the vaudeville sketches where the entertainers would exchange a joke or two before resuming their song.
2. “The Greatest Song I’ve Ever Heard”
LM: This was assembled from a couple of old township jive records, rearranging sections that were more instrumental and putting a bigger beat behind. The lead voice was from a Kate McKinnon interview about a legendary band who made the greatest music she’d ever heard; I liked the idea that such a simple, pretty song could be considered the greatest song ever, it’s not that it couldn’t be the greatest, it just doesn’t seem particularly epic or dramatic enough to be the greatest. The brass section came from a very unlikely YouTube cover of a PATD track, but rearranged in a way that seemed to compliment the rest of the casual groove well enough.
3. “Tell the DJ to Put the Brasses On”
LM: Written around the reassembled parts of an old ska track (Basement Jaxx used the chorus of it for their debut album), the vocals were from an interview with Julia Shapiro and Courtney Barnett discussing how they worked, what their studios were like, etc. The repeated “yeah” in the refrain is a distorted line from the same interview, it worked way too well. The title is a bit of a misheard joke (brass disc), the thought that a song could actually become really cool as soon as the DJ “drops the brasses” (rather than, perhaps, the inverse). The intro was from a BBC radio interview with Haim that was so incredibly dorky (and cringe) I couldn’t resist using it. The brass came again from the same Youtube brass cover artist (a Van Halen cover this time), the clarity of the recordings is just so clean and since they’re brassapellas, they go with almost anything. I had another version with a totally different chorus based on a Blink 182 cover, maybe I’ll re-use it again in the future.
4. “A Halloween Scare (You’ll Never Escape)”
LM: Similar to the other Halloween tracks I’ve worked on, based mostly on old Soviet music or Parisian romantic music from the 60’s, with any non-Halloween sounding chords or melodies taken out. The Berenstain Bears are just too ridiculous not to use. “You’ll never escape” came from the last episode of Idiotsitter: it seemed to work. There was also some “Smoke on the Water” organ in the middle for drama; the ending was a re-creation of “Strawberry Fields Forever”, a lot of the sound effects were from a YouTuber making foley sounds with his guitar.
5. “1000 Rooms”
LM: Based on an amazing Lizzy Mercier Descloux sample that had such an original sound to the piece, I couldn’t find any other music or genre that had such a great combination of jazzy soul and tropical ambience: I ended up having to write the song around it. The way the sample original was cut into place gave it an even more offbeat sound than it originally did, and I tried to program the drums in a way to accentuate this, so there’s never quite a downbeat, the rhythm is always moving and changing. The vocal sample is from the opening dialogue to a video game; every subsequent piece of dialogue seemed more confident and the character has more certainty, whereas this first piece of spoken word was so much more undecided and reserved. I liked the combination of spookiness and Caribbean, I think it gives the track a New Orleans voodoo vibe.
Lemon Melon’s ‘Des Winks’ is out now digital and is available pay-what-you-want here. You can also purchase their full, massive catalog for next to nothing right now (which we highly recommend). Be sure to follow Lemon Melon on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud to keep up-to-date. You can read more about Lemon Melon via Acid Ted and The Devil Has the Best Tuna.