CDJ, Sync e creatività

My issue is not that syncing = bad. […] In the Lisbon club scene, DJs use free software to sync tracks with incredibly complex rhythms—usually tracks that were produced by the DJ or one of his or her crew—blending them together at breakneck speed. The best DJs in the experimental club music style move rapidly between genres and tempos using CDJs, their sets rarely adhering to standard beatmatching.

[…] There is, of course, a whole […] side of DJing that aligns itself closer to live performance, a style of which Hawtin is an advocate. DJs like Surgeon, Paula Temple, Speedy J and Chris Liebing use individual technological solutions to do things that are not possible with a standard CDJs or turntable setup. When this style is done well, the DJ is, in effect, improvising, pulling tracks apart and reassembling them in new and interesting ways. My feeling is that more could be done to audibly show the audience how this technique affects the tracks and parts of tracks that are being played, but regardless of this, there’s no question that syncing the music is vital to this type of performance.

Da “Opinion: DJing shouldn’t be easy

Steevio: Live Techno, Polyrhythms and Modular Synthesizers

“I got bored of hearing the same 4/4 motifs like snare drums and claps on the beats 2 and 4, which is the common house method of punctuating the rhythm,” Steevio states. “I just sat down and said I’ll never ever use those things, so it leaves it open to me mixing different polyrhythms together to make new rhythms.”

[…] Steevio sits on the reams of recorded material he generates, as his understanding of the modular way develops, letting months pass by until revisiting the results and whittling them down to workable tracks. With an ever-strengthening command over his music in the instant that it’s being produced and moving away from laborious arranging and editing, it’s palpable to see the correlation with his rock band roots. “It’s just like practicing on an instrument,” Steevio enthuses. “When you first start you’re a bit clumsy. You haven’t quite got the control, but as you go along you get slicker and slicker.”

It’s safe to say there aren’t many artists producing tracks quite like Steevio at the moment, and he’s the first to acknowledge that it’s difficult at times to see where his brand of bumping, complex techno fits in at a time when Ostgut Ton and Sandwell District rule the day.

From “Modular techno, acid rock and Freerotation: A discussion with Steevio” (pubblicato originariamente su Junodownload)

Why would I want my music to sound like I made it 30 years ago?

Da un’intervista a DJ Stingray

“We’re in the 21st century, why would I want my music to sound like I made it 30 years ago, what sense does that make? I like using effects. Say I’ve got 32 inputs in my digital workstation, if I have enough RAM then I can put up to eight effects on every single channel. Each of these effects I can automate, I can manipulate their parameters down to micro units. It’s only limited by your imagination, the power there is phenomenal.”

“Don’t recreate Kraftwerk,” he continues. “That’s what the future sounded like 30 years ago. You wanna recreate that energy, recreate that same awe and fascination as when they first heard that music. You should be pushing for new sounds with each and every release.”

Rough and direct live sets are more enjoyable

There is an interesting difference between the computer music presenter and a live act. While the centered tape operator has perfect conditions for creating the best possible sound, for presenting a finished work in the most brilliant way (which might occasionally even include virtuoso mixing desk science rather than static adjustment to match room acoustics), the live act has to fight with situations which are far from perfect and at the same time is expected to be more lively. Given these conditions, it is no wonder that generally rough and direct live sets are more enjoyable, while the attempt to reproduce complex studio works on a stage seem more likely to fail.

A rough sounding performance simply seems to match so much more the visual information we get when watching a guy behind a laptop. Even if we have no clue about their work, there is a vague idea of how much complexity a single person can handle. The more the actions result in an effect like a screaming lead guitar, the more we feel that it is live. If we experience more detail and perfection we most likely will suspect we are listening to pre-prepared music. And most of the time we are right with this assumption.

From “Live Performance in the Age of Supercomputing” by Robert Henke

How not to do music

I spent endless hours on things like this. I learned in detail how not to do music. It was the same trap most people still fall into: focussing on irrelevant detail. Cutting one thousand snare samples, then thinking about how to name these, creating semantics that allow you to find something again quickly….a year passes just on building a sample collection and not one song gets done.

Mike Daliot, from “Presets. Digital Shortcuts to Sound” by Stefan Goldmann

Why draw a line between audience and artist?

Da un’intervista a Burnt Friedman

Why would anyone want to perform behind the PA system? There is no reason for it since there are no microphones. When you have microphones, you have feedback issues. But an environment that’s solely set up for electronic equipment, you don’t have these problems, so why would you have people setting up behind the system? Then they are the only ones who are not hearing the sound properly. And why draw a line between audience and artist? To me it’s a rock music kind of thinking that you need someone to focus on, someone who’s more or less on the stage.

Do you often perform on the floor in front of the stage?

I always do it when possible, but more often when it’s just me alone. If it’s a band with drums, we need the stage because it’s something nice to look at. You get someone drumming in the right way and you see how it identifies with the rhythms, with the computer rhythms. It’s really nice to watch.

But with DJ equipment, and especially DJing without records, the performance can only be very poor onstage because nobody knows what’s going on. The stage is ideal for dance choreography, for theatre and for music as well, but if you can’t watch the music, if you don’t understand how they produce the music, the whole concept falls apart. If you play your tracks off the USB stick, which is technically logical and understandable because you have a much wider repertoire, and you are using CD players, I mean, there is no reason why you would perform a spontaneous mix out of fresh new tracks, it could easily be made up, especially in the environment where you have the responsibility for 2,000 people.

Do you think there’s reason to suspect those DJs?

I don’t suspect it, but you could say the situation suspects it. Imagine someone who’s not an insider, who doesn’t know about CD players, who doesn’t know about turntables—he would assume that it’s completely automatic. I’m always trying to look upon things from an outsider perspective, to get a more objective impression of what’s happening. Like an alien, extra-terrestrial point of view if you like. As far as possible, at least.

So when you’re playing and people can’t see what’s going on, that makes you uncomfortable?

Yeah, it makes me feel uncomfortable, absolutely. Ideally I would perform in an ensemble. Each sequence that is played back would be performed by someone and I would be playing my part as well. But you can imagine that this is almost impossible today.

Because I didn’t have a mixer

And I used to twist the cables together—I cut the ends off the cables and twisted them together to mix the sound of the keyboard with the sound of the drum machine, because I didn’t have a mixer. So I twisted them together and then just stuck them in the input of my mom and dad’s cassette recorder, their stereo. And I would record these tracks, and they’re only on one channel, they’re on the left, and yeah, we did put one of them out on Rephlex.

DMX Krew

Mike Huckaby: da Detroit ad Ableton Live, 25 anni di originalità

My motto number 1: “Always do what your peers cannot do and will not do”

My motto number 2: “At first they talk shit about you, then they ask you how you did it”

Queste due citazioni vengono da una bella intervista a Mike Huckaby, pubblicata da Little White Earbuds (che tra l’altro rilascia anche ottimi podcasts) e rilanciata da Test Industries.

In uno dei passi più interessanti dell’articolo, lo storico DJ di Detroit racconta di quando le macchine per fare musica erano poche e quasi nessuno sapeva usarle. Oggi Huckaby non solo ha imparato a usare strumenti (software) moderni come Ableton e Traktor ma impartisce perfino lezioni a riguardo.

Lettura dell’intervista -e scaricamento del mix annesso- sono consigliate.

Caricare musica nell’Internet Archive per inserirla su Noblogs

Ho appena creato un account nell’Internet Archive – è stato più semplice rispetto ad alcuni anni fa, e le istruzioni sono più comprensibili.

In pochi minuti ho caricato anche lì il mio primo esperimento di minimal techno che ieri avevo messo su SoundCloud. non supporta i widget di SoundCloud, ma supporta i widget dell’Internet Archive. La sintassi è spiegata qui, ed ecco qui sotto un esempio.

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Defunken Audio download: Minimal Techno 1

Ieri ho effettuato alla bell’e meglio qualche registrazione, usando il mixer e le casse che ho comprato la settimana scorsa. Ho aperto un account su SoundCloud e ho caricato un primo mp3, che per comodità classificherò come minimal techno.

stream & free download:

Il mixing, fatto in diretta, è abbastanza impreciso. Non ho usato effetti e i suoni non sono ben amalgamati. La ESX notoriamente ha un certo fruscio di fondo, forse lo diminuirò un giorno sostituendo le valvole; poi c’è sicuramente un bel po’ di rumore dovuto al fatto che la registrazione è stata fatta usando semplicemente un cavo RCA-mini jack e l’ingresso Line IN di una scheda audio da quattro soldi. Ho davvero molto su cui lavorare. Tutto sommato comunque l’mp3 finale su SoundCloud riascoltato in cuffia suona in modo abbastanza soddisfacente.