Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Dought Abides

''I had a big thing for Raymond Scott loops. Hell, I could probably eke out a living producing hiphop records, using nothing but breakbeats and Raymond Scott compositions.''

Today Mike Doughty dropped his new album, SAD MAN HAPPY MAN. There's no connection to Raymond Scott on this record, but we wanna plug it anyway. Irwin & I are big fans of Doughty's music & his 1990s band Soul Coughing — & not just because they released three tracks with Raymond Scott samples.

"Bus To Beelzebub," from their first album RUBY VROOM, was based on adapted loops from Scott's "Powerhouse," as heard in numerous Bugs Bunny cartoons. "Uh, Zoom Zip," from the same album, uses samples from the RS Quintette's recording of "The Toy Trumpet" that are so distorted they went unidentified for years. By contrast, the loops from the RSQ's "The Penguin" heard throughout SC's "Disseminated," on their 2nd album, IRRESISTIBLE BLISS, are easy to spot. I love the track & think it's one of the coolest uses of Scott samples by any artist, but Doughty is ambivalent. "The lyrics are not my proudest," he explained for SCUG.net. "Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-nonsense, but at the time we were sequencing the record I dismissed the song as 'harmelodic vaudeville.' Democracy won out, the song made the record, and it ended up being the only damn song on the record that Robert Christgau liked when he reviewed it in Spin."

Doughty is currently working on a new batch of loop-based electronic music, but don't expect more Raymond Scott samples. "After the first record, my bandmates were increasingly unreceptive to loops I brought in from other people's music. Maybe they were right, we woulda been poorer, giving our money away to other composers," he said at MikeDoughty.com. "I could only use the majority of the loops live — gone are the days when Warner Bros. would write a fat check to pay off the Raymond Scott estate and Toots Hibbert for their unsuspecting contributions! Even rappers are too smart to use samples these days."


  1. here, here!!

    I haven't heard the new album yet (I'm biting at the bit though... may have to spring for a janky-ass mp3 version for d/l before the disc comes in). However, I have been ridiculously addicted to his music since I first heard Soul Coughing oh-so-many years ago.

    Go, Mike!!!! (And thanks for everything of yours that's graced my ears!)


  2. I was a massive Soul Coughing fan in the 90's. Saw them live several times in the UK and the USA. Good to hear about Mike's new album.