Monday, July 11, 2011
VICTORY OVER DAMPNESS UNDER FIRE marks the debut Malakai Beats mixtape. Spanning three years of beats and ideas and correspondences, this mixtape represents a variety of styles; in terms of both production and vocal performance, the tracks oscillate through different lenses, different stories, different interpretations. 29 tracks, released July 10, 2011.
AK • Apollo One • Caligula • Castro the Savage • Crazy 20 • Defcon 5 • Deraj the Scatterbrain • Humble J • Illuminati • J-Dirty • K.M. Ultra • Kamal • Lucky Rhymes • Lyrikill • Lyriscologist • Magus the Great • Maple Systems Road • MC Believe • MC Mega • MC Rebirth • Metaphorsemen • Phantom Queen • Record Breakers • Still Doe • Thirtyseven (of Algorhythms) • Tony Two Step • Tre Dizzy • Urban • Words Babylon • Zero Caige
Saturday, July 9, 2011
The other day I hit up Randy's Record Shop, one of the better digging spots I've come across. In Salt Lake City there are several other second-hand places and a couple of other record stores I didn't check out. I was far too busy spending time scouring the shelves at Randy's. The people were super cool and they definitely carry on (what was described as being) the last of a dying breed. It's sad but true though. Legitimate independent record stores are getting a lot more difficult to find. When I was in the Bay Area there were few places around which catered to older formats, and sometimes not necessarily even newer vinyl releases. Usually, Half-Price was awesome to go to. At my particular location I had access to the best variety out of any other Half-Price.
But entering Randy's was like entering nirvana. They definitely know their stuff and have a passion for what they do. They had turntables set up to preview records but I was way too involved with searching as much area as I could. They had a good hip-hop section for newer releases. Everything was neatly divided. The jazz records were even given their own little nook which I must have spent at least an hour or two in. Quality was unmatched and prices ranged from 3 bucks to 40 bucks what from I came across. I can definitely recommend hitting this place up. Every other month they have a huge dollar special sale in a rented space across the street, an event I'm probably attending sometime.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Record Breakers (composed of Still Doe & Havok) have garnered some minor buzz locally and have done numerous concert sets. The music is multi-dimensional lyrically and instrumentally head-knocking. With this release, Record Breakers hopes to break some new ground with their unique delivery and style. Featured on the album is Bay Area legend Deraj the Scatterbrain, Words Babylon, Magus the Great, Subliminal tha Kid, Roso, Illuminati and K.M. Ultra of Metaphorsemen, & A.N. Dreezy. Production by Malakai Beats, Xcalibur, & Miznitch.
Tracks I produced: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, & 16
If anyone's been following my damn-near 6 month long saga about trying to get another mixing computer running once the 10 year old Dell died, you know that it's been a story largely marked by a series of strange ups and downs and overall weirdness. NEVERTHELESS, The new computer is here, everything works, everything's configured, and it's ABOUT TO BE ON. I'm finally comfortable with the mixing environment, and everything's pretty much like it was. I now have a reliable up-to-date computer that won't start smelling weird all of a sudden and with the exception of a hard drive MIA for the time being, everything's lovely. It's time to get to work.
The very next thing I'll be working on and FINISHING is the long-awaited, highly anticipated mixtape VICTORY OVER DAMPNESS UNDER FIRE. Updates to follow soon..
Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
About 100 days ago I started buying parts to build a computer. The last post more or less gives the abbreviated form of that story. To give it more weight I should add the reasoning behind eventually taking it into a shop to get it put together. At first, the case I got was weird because the surface for placing the motherboard on it contained ribbed nubs and a gulf-chasm at the bottom with two little hills aligning the motherboard to the back plate. I didn't have risers with either the case or the motherboard so I figured I didn't need them, and proceeded to screw the motherboard down into the case. Although this *could* have been a problem (e.g., the motherboard coming into contact with the metal on the case) it turned out that nothing detrimental happened. The second issue was the CPU chip and my complete lack of knowledge regarding thermal paste. Basically following the instructions exactly ("Apply tube of thermal paste") I dumped the entire tube on the chip and placed the fan on it. Although this also *could* have been a problem, especially with paste going over the edges and into the motherboard OR the underside of the CPU connection this apparently didn't happen due to the fact that I had one of those big baller Zalman brass fans with the large underside plate. So at first I build this computer and turn it on. Everything seems well and fine but for some reason it won't stay on in the BIOS. Instead it randomly shuts down. So I backtrack and take it to the computer shop who advise me of my errors. I clean the excess gel off of the CPU chip taking careful note that none of the gel escaped the top of the chip where it's supposed to be (though spread out in a thin layer). So when the computer shop is unable to figure out the root problem we come to the consensus that the motherboard may have gotten shortened out, as there is little evidence to pin down the CPU chip. So the motherboard gets RMA-ed and a couple of weeks later I get a new one. Same problem. This time we decide to send back BOTH the motherboard AND the CPU to get a positive ID on the problem. Turned out the problem all along had been the CPU chip, likely (I think) due to it being defective to begin with. So during this whole process of paying shipping fees and waiting and dreading the next problem that would more than likely be due to an error of my own I decide to turn the project over to the computer shop. I didn't have a CD drive installed because I didn't really need one for the purposes of the computer, and I had planned to install the operating system via USB.
This is where the trouble begins...
I should preface this by giving a helpful word of advice to anyone approached with a brand new custom-build computer: NEVER PLUG YOUR USB DEVICE INTO THE FRONT. Always go through the back, which is directly connected to the motherboard at the factory. You'll soon see why.
The front USB connector is different; It has to be manually installed to the motherboard through all the different wires (red, +, -, etc.). Motherboard manufacturers, to make this process easier, ship out boards with q-connectors to match everything up (red goes to red, + goes to +, - goes to -, etc.). Incorrectly doing this, as I have learned, can have bad effects. More detailed technical information about this can be found @ http://www.directron.com/installusb.html, particularly "Troubleshooting #1"...
This was not something I originally messed up on because at least these instructions were crystal clear, so I had no problem originally doing this plug-in. When taken to the computer shop later on after swapping out the motherboard and the CPU (second go-round) everything is in pieces.
So, computer shop calls me up and tells me it's ready. I get mad geeked. Rush down there, pick it up and pay for the service. Take it home with the intention of booting it up and installing the operating system. For some reason the BIOS isn't recognizing the USB and I can't quite figure out why. I go through 2 USB flash drives before I realize that for whatever reason it's simply not working so I go on Amazon, order a CD drive, install it myself when it arrives (very easy task), install the operating system. Everything goes well. Once Windows is up, I immediately begin the anticipated task of transferring all my current Cubase project folders, sample library, etc. onto the new hard drive from an external USB hard drive that I use for on-the-fly data transfers (hence the original lack of any kind of need for a CD drive, which would be impractical for data transfers). Well, low and behold the USB device isn't being recognized as a hard drive. Weird. It should be plug and play. So, I plug in ANOTHER external USB hard drive, this one containing basically everything I have: family pictures, music collection, personal papers, etc. Same thing.
It wasn't until a little bit later and upon further research and verification that the problem came to light, with potentially extremely hazardous results.
Essentially, what happened was the computer shop peeps reversed the polarity of the - and + wires. Apparently this is a mistake that's not unheard of, as the small type on the wires and q-connector can often be deceiving. Simple human error. I'm not mad at the people at the computer shop for doing this, just peeved in general at the situation (as you'll understand below).
I explain this all here:
after learning that I may have inadvertently fried both USB hard drives.
Since this has occurred, I have done a little meditating and came to the realization that at the very least I still have a backup mirror of my active projects on the previous hard drives I was using on the old computer, so ALL is not lost, but potentially a significant portion if I'm unable to do any kind of data recovery. That's basically where I'm at right now. The next project will be to determine if the motherboard itself (and possibly anything connected to it) is toast.
I kind of wish I had just bought a computer. All this has been a super humbling experience. I just hope I'm able to get this data back and to (eventually) get back up and running in operating capacity.
UPDATE: It turns out the computer shop person accidentally plugged the FIREWIRE cable into the USB port, which basically has the same affect as what I originally thought happened (reverse polarity USB), since IEEE 1394 (firewire) uses much more power than USB. So, in a turn of events I am now left with a working computer but a locked-out hard drive (Western Digital encryption). In the future I'm going to try different methods to revive the data.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
It's been entirely too long since I've updated this blog. And time goes by way too fast. Anyway the long-anticipated mixtape got put off right before I was in the final stages of album completion due to a dying computer. It was a Dell Dimension that I've been using since like 2002, so needless to say it was time for an upgrade. THAT process has taken about 100 + days due to a faulty CPU chip. It wouldn't normally take that long to isolate the problem, but given shipping times, sending the motherboard back twice, and lots of other related experiences it's basically been a humble ride. The new computer should be ready in the next several days (waiting for a cd drive to install the operating system because the USB method failed).
The very next process I plan to attend to is finally, definitively, finishing this mixtape. Once that's uploaded and released I plan to move onto Ambient Abstractions related projects. That's right. Double A is back to flip your wig and make you drink the koolaid because Anton says so. It's interesting how I couldn't have quite anticipated this shift but for some reason one day I came up with the idea to bring it all back as a collective, get cats on board and make music. So far with an upcoming Record Breakers album, local concerts, an emerging YouTube channel, collab tracks, and so forth, we're basically putting it down. We've got some great talent in the mix repping the crop circle, and things are beginning to look up. I really hope we can make this thing grow into something unique and awesome. I'll also be doing other miscellaneous projects as well so plenty of flavor is in the works for 2011 and beyond.
In the meantime, hang tight while everything gets set up and situated. I plan to update this blog a lot more with stories, digging adventures, album reviews, tips, all kinds of info. Peace
ps. I uploaded some newer beat material @ facebook.com/malakaibeats. Be sure to hit me up!