Friday, April 24, 2009

Step To It!

get your groovin' shoes out.   i've worked up a new mix for you that i would like to share.  this one is a dubstep mix i made earlier in the week, but figure friday is a perfect day to put it up here.

when i stumbled across dubstep, it had many musical ideas that i found exciting.   i had loved drum and bass for a long time in high school but found it to grow stagnant. but i still loved the emphasis on rhythms and heavy bass lines.  then i heard the second burial album.  the slinky drum lines, swung so they weren't in perfect time. with dollops of bass whipped in for good measure.  the rainy melancholy was refreshing too since most drum and bass is/was macho posturing.

what really struck me were the percussive lines.  they weren't 4x4, kick drums on the quarter notes.  but more like hip hop. a 2x4 line skeleton. kick drums spaced out a little more sparsely, with snares to punctuate and give the measure some backbone.  give it a little rhythmic lean.  they were way more interesting that the breaks that i had grown tired of in drum and bass. each song was pretty unique.  obviously there were variations on similar themes, but there  is enough interesting deviations to show that there are some real beatsmiths out there.  and i can really appreciate that.

i'm pretty proud of this mix.  and it holds a special place for me because it's the first dubstep mix i've shared online yet. i've made mixes for friends and given them out, but never posted them.  i have my opinions of strong and weaker spots. but i would love to hear what you think.  i will say one of my favorite spots is around min 37, the transition between headhunter and boxcutter. the drums and weird sounds create this really cool moment.  i have a lot to learn in the ways of mixing dubstep but i always really enjoy it because it takes a different touch than techno and house, obviously because its not just lining up kick drums.  but out of it comes these really intricate percussive moments that really shine for me.  all of my favorites made it on here, scuba, martyn, shackleton, zomby, with some other exciting tracks and remixes sprinkled in.  one i downloaded from another one i found while "cratedigging" on  another one was recommended by the excellent online store boomkat.

various productions - thunnk
fever ray - when i grow up (scuba's up high remix)
spatial - 70707
f - the untitled dub
badawai vs. juakali - crows 
horace andy/ashley beedle - watch we (pinch remix)
2562 - morvern
starkey - striking distance
zomby - mu5h
headhunter - prototype
boxcutter - lunal
appleblim - vansan (T++ remix)
scuba - the upside (martyn's down mix)
shakleton - naked (shakleton - tin foil sky)

as always, the mix was made in real time.  i planned this playlist out more than my previous mixes. i think i could still tweak until its perfect, but then again, i know i'm my harshest critic, especially when it comes to these mixes.  so i release it unto you via teh interwebs.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

speaking in code

i first came across this trailer on the blog from philip sherburne.  he's kind of a big deal in the techno/music crit world.  at least i'd say he is.  he contributed interviews and has a small on screen roll, as a person who is active in the techno scene in europe.

what struck me is the fact that even if i couldn't necessarily understand the speaking parts (the audio is a little iffy), what i did understand, in conjunction with the music was a really strong magnetism to what the filmmakers were setting out to do.  which if i have my say on what they're doing, i'd say they're emphasizing the community that techno builds, across borders, languages, economic status etc.  the idiom that music is a universal language is tired, but I found myself truly wrapped up and swept along with the trailer.  i've never been to the giant clubs, attended festivals in europe, generally enjoyed techno (dance music in general) in its intended and public form.  but i feel like i had a pretty good understanding of what was happening and the vibe the filmmakers were attempting to create.

techno is a community as much as it is a style of music.  

being from indiana, i don't meet many people that enjoy this music, really at all, let a lone find people who will even give it the time of day.  most people don' t take the time because it has no lyrics, or "it's too repetitive" (which drives me nuts).   but when i do find someone who even has a passing interest in the same music, its pretty special.  there is all ready a bond that links the two of us together.  something similar to when two people share a mutual language in a foreign land.

in the past year or so i have come to realize how important community is to me.  being an only child i have always gotten swept up in group activities ie. Boy Scouting, a fraternity, and various orchestras.  i find techno is a similar venue that i turn to for community.  and being in a geographic location that isn't quite in tune with what i'm listening to, when i do find someone, its that much more exciting, a secret club.

well, all in all, i think this movie has the potential to explain/illuminate a lot more than just the fact that the music is cool and that you can dance to it.  not that techno needs any help, it's doing just fine, but i think positive documentaries that educate and entertain are few and far between.  i'm sad that i'm not going to be able to make it to the opening in boston in a few days, but i'm looking forward to the opportunity to purchase this if it comes to dvd.  and share with my friends.  in hopes of continuing to build up the community.

enjoy the trailer.  check out the website
congratulations to all who were involved in the making of this.  i wish them all the very best as they release this to the world.


Monday, April 20, 2009

the first and foremost

This is it! The premiere of my music blog.  I feel this blog has been in the works for a very long time.  dating all the way back to me posting songs on my livejournal account and reccounting my music purchases with thumbnail descriptions back a few years ago.  and recently i began to post music mixes i had made to my facebook account.

well now that is all going to change.  the purpose of this blog is to be a collection point, a junk drawer, of my musical ramblings and musical ideas.  i'll post everything here, purchases, musings, future mixes old mixes, just so its all in one place.  makes it easier for me and hopefully easier for others to find this blog and spend a few minutes with me as i try to discern what's going on between my ears.

to celebrate, i'll post up a few mixes.

this is the first mix i posted on facebook.  its hip-hop inspired. roughly 90-100 bpm and about 20min long.  a little fun and kinda groovy.  
1. body movin'(fatboy slim remix) - beastie boys
2. the blackhole - dj krush
3.rap tight - eliot lipp
(grapesicles (samiyam remix) - flying lotus
4.gng bng - flying lotus
5. still dre (megasoid remix) - dr. dre
6. superstar - lupe fiasco
7. crooked - rustie

here's the second hip-hop inspired mix. again about 20min long, 90-100bpm and a little more melancholy than the last mix.
13 & God - Afterclap
Telepopmusik - Last Train to Wherever
Dj Krush - Candle Chant (A Tribute) ft. Boss the MC
Jel - To Buy a Car
King Midas Sound - One Ting (Dabrye Remix)
Kiln - Isthmus
Porthishead - Deep Water

this is out of chronological order, but i'll keep them in genre order. this is the third hip-hop mix i did, most recently, still has the headbob of hip-hop with strange cuts in there to keep it interesting. the part i am proudest about is the technology i was using to make this mix. this is the first mix i posted while using traktor pro and my dj steel mp3 controller. i utilized the looping function at the beginning of this mix. picking the bass synth line and then over it putting a beat from the second fever ray song to make my own intro. i was really proud of this mix. still am frankly.
fever ray - if i had a heart/concrete walls
odd nosdam - fat hooks
circlesquare - stop taking (so many)
madlib - sacrifice (beat-a-holic thoughts)
hudson mowhawke - overnight
dabrye - magic says
subtle - midas gutz
beck - gamma ray
fever ray - if i had a heart

this next mix is housey. that means rather than the boom-bap of the previous two mixes, we have a steady kick drum hitting on the 1-2-3-4.
ben klock - pulse
seth troxler - aphrika
ryan crosson, reference - the bumps
justice - d.a.n.c.e
simian mobile disco - sleep deprivation
stimming & einmusik - madleine
matthew dear - don and sherri (hot chip version)
nelly furtato feat. timbaland - promiscuous girl (axwell remix)
zed bias - rouge frequency feat fyza
dapayk - 10 minutes of fame
shed - that beats everything! (vinyl version)
gui boratto - haute couture
daft punk - crescendolls
patrice baumel - clair
intrusion - angel version feat. paul st. hilaire
telepopmusik - L'Incertitude D'Heisenberg

well that's the collection of all my old mixes.  here are two new ones, fresh off the harddrive for you.

housey mix 2.  i don't have a direct playlist written up for this yet.  probably won't because the beginning is kinda complex.  taking what i did with the previous housey mix and the 3rd beatmix, i splice together two tracks, beats from one looped over a second song to give it some more backbone.  then for the second half i drop the back up beats and get a little more varied.  also the last track i wanted to throw that in because its just crazy.

pantha du prince - saturn probe (ellen allien - alles sehen)
the chemical brothers with the klaxons - all rights reversed (mike ink. - ?don't remember what it is)
martyn - shadowcasting (pangaea - deviant)
donnacha costello - trust (ben klock & marcell dettmann - blank scenario)
modeselektor - i can't sleep (without music) (mike ink. - same track as before....i think)
radio slave - bell clap dance
lcd soundsystem - yeah yeah (crass version)
claro intellecto - rise
pigon - beau monde
daft punk - around the world
ricardo villalobos - hireklon
rustie - zig-zag

here's a more techno feel mix. i did this one yesterday. realizing as i was writing up the tracklist of the last mix, i have some repeats in this one. in fact they're almost in the same order, which is a little embarassing but i can overlook it becuase i'm pretty proud of this mix.  when i say techno, rather than house, i have a very specific sound in mind.  describing the rift between house and techno is very difficult for anyone not familiar with either.  but in a quick summation of what i think the difference is, good house should have a funky kind of swagger.  you can hear it in almost every daft punk song. think big black divas singing over ritzy cymbal patterns with a squiggly bass line.  thats what i think of when i think house.  new york city. 
techno is much more vertical in my mind.  disregarding the horizontal swagger and sex of house music, techno prefers the up and down hypnosis of strong kick drums and almost mechanical patterns.  people describe it as a stripped back sound, which i could agree with, but what really resonates with me is the hypnotic repetition.   in addition to repeats, you'll see some of the same names from the last mix.  i have some favorites for a variety of reason.  mike ink is fun becuase his tracks are so muscular, yet very sparse. useful tracks really.  ben klock and marcell dettmann are two german fellows that i really admire for their use of sounds.  at first glimpse the sound very dry and businesslike, yet upon further investigation their songs really open up headspace when listening.  its all in the details for them.  every sound you hear they have very purposely put there, whether its a hazy fog sound or a faint melodic plinking... all very striking.  claro intellecto has become someone that i enjoy playing, has his fingers in many different pots.  the song i've used for these two mixes, rise is a striking song because it basically consists of 3 parts. a drum line, some grey sounding synth effects, and the plinking/plunking sound that stumbles and trips through the whole song.  he chops it up and chops it up, rearraging it over the steady kick drum so its rhythms align and realign again and again.  great song.  radio slave, another repeater is quickly working into my library.  i would use him to act as the other pole in the techno world.  ben klock/marcell dettmann have a very specific stripped back sound.  radio slave, from what i have heard, has a very driving sound, but with much more color and melody.  we're not talking big emotional, hands in the air synth lines, but more like he's not afraid of putting a little melody up front.  but don't get confused, its still driving and repetitive and overall pretty wonderful.

shackleton - death is not final
model 500 - starlight (echospace unreleased dub)
mike ink. - red
argenis brito - unreality
voodeux - skeleton key
claro intellecto - rise
radio slave - bell clap dance
marcell dettmann - quicksand
gonno - i don't need competition (donnacha costello remix)
kerri chandler - pong (ben klock's bones & strings rework)
daft punk - too long

well that wraps up my innagural post. i'm going to try to update this with some kind of regularity. it'll be good for me to display the discipline i'm learning regarding my mixing and apply it to this.  
i'll be posting more mixes as i make them. also expect more musings regarding techno, house, dubstep and everything else. stay tuned, big things are too come.