My 5 Favorite Things: Sahy Uhns
Underground SoCal producer Carl Madison Burgin (a.k.a. Sahy Uhns, which, by the way, is pronounced science) draws from hip-hop and electronic to formulate his heady, always challenging soundscape. On October 18th Burgin will unveil his debut album, An Intolerant Disdain Of Underlings, on Proximal Records, both as an online digital LP and as a 5″x5″ hardcover photo book with the CD tray in the back cover. We caught up with this L.A. native and asked him to wax poetic about his five sources for sampling in L.A. Be sure to watch Burgin in the video below, bringing his live boom-bap live and direct.
1. The Metrolink station in Van Nuys. I was there waiting for a friend to get in from Santa Barbara and recorded the sounds of the trains pulling in and passing. I didn't have my field recorder yet so I recorded it on an old broken cassette recorder. Those recordings were sampled for the beginning of "Randsburg."
2. The Nazi Ruins at "Murphy Ranch" in Rustic Canyon. Many of the percussion sounds on my album were recorded at the Nazi ruins. There's a big cement aqueduct about 50 feet in diameter and 25 feet deep that has a bunch of random debris in it. A friend of mine threw rocks into the aqueduct, and I recorded the sounds of the rocks hitting the cement walls and ricocheting off the junk at the bottom. I recorded at dusk so in the decay of the percussion hits you can sometimes hear the ambient sounds of bugs and crickets chirping. We also found a metal water tower in the same area and climbed up inside of it to recorded claps and snaps because it was such a reflective space. Those claps can be heard on tracks like "Montebello Postpartum," "My Very Own Mariana Trench" and "Anticipation of the Night."
3. Mother's Beach in Marina Del Rey. When you walk to the end of the docks there is a slit between each of the wooden planks that goes down to the water. Through those slits I recorded the sound of the ocean hitting the underside of the dock at dusk. These sounds ended up on "We Offer Our Silent Presence." I wrote that track for my friend Steven, who was a sailor, and so I wanted a sample of the water to be part of that track.
4. My car. Recording in the car is great because you can be in so many different sonic environments in a really short amount of time. When the windows are closed it becomes a really weird acoustic space. There are things that sound completely different in my car than they do anywhere else. "Rain Song" was recorded from inside of my car.
5. Putting out mini-fires. For the beginning and end of "Fever. Chills and Sweats." I lit a long barbecue match, let the wood catch fire and then put out the flame in a cup of water. I setup the mic really close to the cup and recorded the sound of the flame being extinguished and the crackling noises that followed. The sound was slightly different when I used a plastic cup versus a glass cup so I got some variation in the sound by changing the type of cup.