Thursday, May 01, 2008

Chop Screwy

Lazer Sword flip the script on the boom-bap tip to forge something fresh and freaky.

By Jack Oatmon

It’s a percussive aggregate of neurotically deconstructed samples and synth hooks sprayed with a swarm of twitchy, gibbering bleeps and blasted out of the speakers, woven with artfully decayed bass thumps, and it sounds like a nightmarish prophecy about the future of hip hop production. Antaeus Roy and Bryant Rutledge, the two gentlemen behind the booth, originally met across the counter of San Francisco music shop Amoeba, where Roy regularly remarked on Rutledge’s sharp and comparable taste.

It was not long before they crossed paths socially and began crafting their sophisticated demolition derby, pitting up-to-the-second electronic production with the raw charm of the hyphy wave.

“We were both into making straight up rap, hip hop shit at the time,” recounts Rutledge, “but once we hit the studio together it became clear we were both trying to step away from doing the same formulaic boom-bap business with something a little different.”

“Started flipping the script a little,” says Roy, “adding more electronics and equipment in the game, and just grew from excessive jam sessions and new inspiration over the past couple years.”

They’ve also both done time in the electronic music press, with Rutledge presently working at the eminent XLR8R.

“Our current sound came through trial and error,” explains Roy, “experimenting with new sounds and not always restricting ourselves to sample based beats, adding more synthetic glitches, bloops, and occasional bleeps here and there. Being in the Bay at the forefront of the hyphy movement plays a big part. As well as meshing that with the fact that we both at one point worked for the same electronic music magazine, feeding off of material that was a bit new to us at the time.”

“I think it was a natural shift from what we were doing already,” says Rutledge. “In addition to our love for hip hop and ignorant rap music, we both got down to all types of strange experimental shit before we met each other, and were also buying into a ton of old psychedelic rock and early synthesizer music as well, so it was only a matter of time until everything got smushed together.”

Peep the jams at