AngelDust by Cameron Carpenter

COURSE: Independent


“Angel Dust” is a beat I produced sampling Gil Scott-Heron’s 1978 song “Angel Dust”. The melody that I used in my beat is selected from the introduction of his song, modified using multiple parametric equalizers and audio plugins, and layered with a counter-melody from a Chinese yangqin. For drums in the beat, I used a simple snare and hi-hat pattern, and a kick drum side-chained to the melody. Lastly, I start the beat with an audio clip from a 1980’s DEA “Say No to Drugs” ad, tying back to the message from Scott-Heron’s song.

I created this beat with the intention of paying homage to the late Gil Scott-Heron and his song “Angel Dust”. Angel dust is referring to the drug PCP, and Scott-Heron’s intention in his song is to warn about the dangers of drug abuse. Personally, I believe that drug abuse is a very serious issue in America, and getting help for those who need it is essential. However, I do think that certain drugs such as marijuana and alcohol can be used responsibly and not result in an addiction. As I spoke about in my description, I used an audio clip from an old DEA campaign. The issue of drugs and their effects are definitely a serious matter, but I do find some humor in the clip with the way marijuana is described and the sense of fear that the narrator attempts to instill in her listeners. With the sample that I used for the melody, I wanted to preserve as much of the 1970’s vibe that I could by keeping the original baseline and percussion sounds from Scott-Heron’s song, and adding a hip-hop sound with the drums and yangqin. My name is Cameron Carpenter, and I have been producing music for almost a year and a half using my digital audio workstation FL Studio. As far as my personal sound, I aim to create intriguing beats that make my listeners stop and think about the musical atmosphere of the beat. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy my submission!