Filed under: Beat Deconstructions
Aim – ‘The Force’ ft. QNC
taken from Cold Water Music (Grand Central, 1999)
Various Artists – ‘Easy To Be Hard’
taken from Hair OST (Polydor, 1969)
Galt MacDermot – ‘Easy To Be Hard’
taken from Hair Cuts (?, 1969)
So I’m blasting back onto the scene by leaning back on one of my favourite stimulus subjects: the British weather. The weekend just gone by was nothing short of beautiful, with blue skies and blazing sunshine making for some of the finest couple of days of the year so far. Throw this into the mixing pot with the dawn of my five and a half weeks of summer holiday and you’ve got a situation approaching fiesta status. Eff the torrential rain since then, ‘The Force’ is one of my go-to summer classics and well overdue for the deconstruction treatment.
I’m not sure how far Andrew Turner, more commonly known as Aim, has managed to extend his influence beyond British shores but he is without doubt one of the most high profile hip hop artists within a certain demographic here in Blighty. Teetering dangerously on the edge of what could be considered coffee table music, what’s surprising about Aim as an artist is that he has always managed to maintain a sense of credibility despite his particular aesthetic possessing clear mass appeal: yea, that trendy looking student likes to rock it at his afternoon shift behind the bar on a Saturday, but there’s enough substance to his discography to stop such incidents tainting the music for the more discerning listener (read: music snobs like me). All three of his studioalbums are worth copping and his mix for the Fabric Live series was jaw-droppingly good: quite a musical career for a man hailing from Cumbria.
‘The Force’ is one of the most unabashed bangers in his discography and sees him team up with ex-JVC Force member Curt Cazal and long-term affiliate Q-Ball (who I don’t think ever played a part in the crew) who drop satisfyingly accomplished rhymes over a beat that has depth and momentum. The main groove is lifted from ‘Easy To Be Hard’ which can be found on Galt MacDermot’s widely-used soundtrack to the late ’60s musicalHair, a track and theatre production that I’ve mentioned before when discussing the Three Dog Night cover that formed the backbone of Nice & Smooth’s ‘Old To The New’. It’s a straight up loop of the first two bars with low pass filter applied that acts as the foundation of ‘The Force’, steadily built upon with multiple other layers that escape my realm of knowledge. This is frustrating as there’s plenty more at play here, with squealing horns, vocal sample and bouncy piano loop all featuring throughout the composition.
As such, this ‘deconstruction’ is a little redundant because it clearly doesn’t do justice to the musicianship on display. However, as a means to easing myself back into the blog game and presenting a track that may have passed you Yanks by, it suffices perfectly. To ease the guilt of my shallow analysis I’ve also thrown in an alternative version of the source material that I picked up on my digital travels at some point from MacDermot’sHair Cuts, an equally enjoyable version of the song that is well worth the space on your hard drive. Let’s hope the clouds disperse again soon: ‘The Force’ is far too glorious to bump when it’s raining.