In theaters now, Black Dynamite spoofs the Blaxploitation films of the ’70s, with an amazing soundtrack that’s just been released on Wax Poetics Records. Dripping with vintage analog funk, the score has brought immediate attention to producer/composer Adrian Younge, who amazingly, also edited the film. In creating the score, Younge played almost every instrument, recorded everything to tape, and used as much vintage gear as he could get his hands on. He recently shared some of his secrets with us on capturing that vintage ‘70s sound. Everything was tracked through a dbx 160 compressor and a reissue Universal Audio 1176 in serial.
"It's really the 1176 that’s the essential part of my sound. Everything was run through that. That's the only piece of equipment that everything went through, on that whole album."
“The main microphone I used was an RCA DX-77 and I mixed through an Audio Arts/Wheatstone broadcast console. I'm outputting my mix through that same compression chain. The dbx adds a little harmonic quality to the chain, but it's really the 1176 that’s the essential part of my sound. Everything was run through that. That's the only piece of equipment that everything went through, on that whole album.”
One of the keys to Younge’s sound is the bass. “In the early ‘70s, the bass sound was very tight. It's an instrument that was often the main instrument, as opposed to today where it's a background instrument. I really like the attack I got with the 1176 as far as the bass cutting through. That’s a big deal, because certain songs would not even be arranged and recorded the way they did, had I not been able to use the 1176.”
"When I use the [All Buttons Mode] on the 1176 on my drums, it makes the drums hit hard, as if you're using an [E-MU] SP-1200 or a percussion sampler."
Younge also added some contemporary appeal to his score. “I wanted hip-hop artists to want to sample my score. They like to sample things that sound full, and that hit hard. Now, when I use the push-in button technique [All Buttons Mode] on the 1176 on my drums, it makes the drums hit hard, as if you're using an [E-MU] SP-1200 or a percussion sampler. This is something that is very attractive to a lot of hip-hop heads, hard drums.”
“I used the 1176 on vocals also, it was great to get a real brightness to the vocal tracks I was using. Using the RCA DX-77, a ribbon mic, and running all the vocals through a tube preamp creates a dark sound. Running it through the 1176, you kind of get the solid-state harmonics going, brightening the sound.”
The Black Dynamite soundtrack is available now on vinyl and CD through Wax Poetics records.
Check out the Black Dynamite Score Documentary for a look at the making of this amazingly analog soundtrack.