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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Sample Battle MP3s

Following up on yesterday’s Kracfive.com entry, the collective’s latest “Iron Chef of Music” contest has been posted on the site. It’s a “global” battle, meaning it took place remotely (“from afar, over the internet from multiple kitchens”). “Local” battles, in contrast, take place “in person, face to face; all contestants used the same kitchen.” Each Iron Chef of Music calls upon a bunch of musicians to make a song based on a common sample; according to the contest’s F.A.Q., they have two hours to accomplish the task. Past mystery ingredients have included a Bruce Haack soundtrack snippet, the Lord of the Rings trailer, and the sound of ice rattling around in a glass.

The latest battle (#23, “Casio Scone,” recorded December 10, 2004) provided perhaps the contest’s shortest sample yet, a three-second Casio riff. A Casio SK-1, to be more specific: a low-budget, mid-’80s sampling keyboard; an 8-bit monophonic artifact. Run in a loop, the spare sample has a nice jittery beat, like a funky guy nursing a knee injury. That sample, all 74 KB of it, and the three completed entries are available for download (here). Khonnor‘s “Iron Chef” slows the sample until it sounds like a Phantom of the Opera organ on the fritz (that’s Claude Rains’ Phantom, not Joel Schumacher and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s). The subject of Lipid‘s “Winning Game” appears to be pachinko, gauging by its musty-arcade vibe. Proswell‘s “Whyy” is the most radio-friendly, with a groovy beat and some understated changes. The winner? Well, it may be something of a tie — by default, my iPod sequenced them in alphabetical order by artist, and Lipid’s track happens to close with a little call out (some dude saying “Heh” or “Hit it” or something like that), which leads just perfectly into Proswell’s opening rhythm. Between the two of them is a recipe worth revisiting.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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