Beats By Satoshi

In case you don’t know, I occasionally write for Buttcoin, a site that lambasts Bitcoin and the horrifying community that has sprung up around it. For some reason the entire Bitcoin phenomenon is endlessly hilarious to me, from the scam artists to the extreme libertarians to the clueless teenagers. Every aspect of it is incredible for all the wrong reasons; it’s a total trainwreck.

As such, I occasionally lurk the bitcoin channel on IRC to keep an eye out for funny happenings and whatnot, so the other night when this scrolled by, I had a laugh:

[02:03] <BitHub> anybody selling any exlusive rights to beats for bitcoin?

After receiving a rather libertarian response (e.g. “what business of yours is it?”) to my inquiry about what they’d be used for (I suspect he was going to rap about Bitcoin, which is always terrible,) I chuckled at the idea, posting “beats by satoshi” as a throwaway gag and then conversing with my pal wit about Bitcoiners. We then concluded that I could probably outdo random Bitcoiners and I should go ahead and write something.

So I did.

It starts out with a lazy drumloop I wrote up and ran through a bitcrusher, saturation, and compression, which did really weird things to the reverb tail on the snare drum. I liked the strange artifacts, so I left them in place, adding a bass afterwards. The bass itself is just a sine wave run through compression, distortion, then a lowpass filter, all done to fatten it up.

In keeping with hip-hop tradition, I built most of the track on sampled loops, warping and shaping them to fit within my ideas. I found a Rhodes piano loop, then processed it with the Uhbik G, a granular pitch-shifter that seems to be powered by voodoo or ghosts or some other supernatural powers, because I still can’t make heads or tails of it yet. Regardless, this made things interesting right away. On top of that, I found a simple little guitar loop of someone just plinking away, as well as a couple other guitar loops. Added on top of that was something being run through a vocoder, adding a little 70s funk vibe to it.

After some arranging, I had a structure in place, but was missing a vital element: vocals. I am not a rapper and don’t know any rappers, so I did what comes naturally: I dug through my collection of weird samples and ended up having a circuit-bent Speak & Spell do the rapping for me, coughing up random noises and syllables and making little sense. Seems appropriate, really.

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