Sunday, November 23, 2014

Demo Week 2, Day 2: The Audio One

How about a strictly instrumental demo? We haven't had one of those before! Well, here's one from Gizmo, one half of the famed duo The Audio Two, of course. We all know what happened to Milk Dee after the pair failed to release their mysterious third album, First Dead Indian - he signed to American Records and released a pretty nice EP which featured Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys. Then in the 2000s, he started working with random guys like Eamon and Jason Downs, and he cameo'd on that 50 Cent remake of his.

But Giz? I mean, you'll see him continue to rack up some credits on sites like discogs; but that's just because people can't stop sampling "Top Billin'." But for actually doing new work, I don't think he's done anything since the days of the Two. Where'd he go?

This tape answers that question, at least to a fair degree. He was at least shopping himself as a producer with this tape of his own beats sent out in 1998.

If look closely at the photo, you'll see this tape is ostensibly divided into two sections: Hip-Hop on side 1 and R&B and Hip-Hop on side 2. In fact, side 1 is full of hip-hop beats, over a dozen. And side 2 just has 4 beats, only one of which sounds like it's meant for R&B. I mean, maybe he had ideas of someone singing over one or two of the others - after all, he positively invented the penultimate R&B-singer-over-a-hip-hop-beat track. But only one has the cheerful, soft, only Raven Symone wound be down with this keyboard riff on it. The rest are all pretty dark and clunky.

And how are all these beats? Certainly professionally crafted. There's not a lot of samples, or if there are, they've been filtered to the point of sounding like studio-created sounds, which is what most of them probably are. There's an MC Lute vocal loop on one track to make you feel at home with the Giz you know. But none of it sounds like their classic records; it's clearly meant to have a modern vibe, and is trying to fit in rather than stand out. If I were a label head, this tape would tell me that Giz is a pro, and I might hire him for some in-house work; but I certainly wouldn't go into a bidding war for any of these beats like "my artist needs this!" In other words, Ras Kass wouldn't have to worry about Jadakiss stealing any of this music from him - there's no makings of a hit here.

And as a fan, I can't say I'm bothered than this work wasn't capitalized on and made into full songs. It's like ah, okay, so that's what Giz was up to in 1998. But the world hasn't missed out on any masterpieces.

As you can see, Tracks From Giz came with a business card. "You can ask Giz" is of course a line from "Top Billin'." His production company listed there, Gee Off Productions, is the label Lyte credited for her song "Wonder Years" a couple years ago, so he's clearly still using that. All in all, a pretty interesting little find. Not one that needs to be rescued and delivered to the fans, per se; but a cool one to learn about. And tomorrow we'll get back into full-length demo albums, complete with vocals.  :)

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