Electronic music's longevity, and some would say most powerful attribute, is from its ability to transmute.
This comes partly from technological determinism - each new invention, software update, and processor refinement brings yet more possibilities - and on the determination of its artists to not sound like guy standing next to them.
If electronic music is anything, it is a culture of remixers obsessed with the future.
One of house music's most famous mutations came from Chicago's DJ Pierre, who in 1987 under the name Phuture together with Marshall Jefferson, Spanky, and Herb Jackson, released the very first acid house track.
"We didn’t know what we were doing when we made ‘Acid Tracks’, we were just playing around with the 303 and thought ‘wonder what it would sound like if we put a beat to that acid wiggle’," Pierre said about the track back in December 2008 (read our in-depth interview with Pierre about 'Acid Tracks' here).
As part of our Black History Month celebrations, we sat down with Pierre to find out more about those early acid house days, and decided to take a look back at some of the sub genre's most memorable tracks.
Danton Eeprom is having a busy day, in what is surely his most successful ever month as a recording artist.
"I've done about 10 album of the month interviews so far and the reaction has been pretty amazing," he says, as the throb of London traffic and the pitter patter of rain upon the city streets punctuates his rushed sentences.
The conversation stops, as he asks for directions. "Gotta turn left up there love, then cross over and do a right," replies a faceless lady.
Danton jumps back on the line, "Sorry about that, I've just come from the Russian embassy to get my visa, and now I'm off to another embassy."
We continue. "I was kind of wondering how it would go down as this album is quite diverse and pretty different to what I've done before," he says.
That is probably the understatement of the year.
A large development project is going ahead, undertaken by British property group Oakmayne, who plan to build large blocks of residential housing – directly across the road from the South London venue. Oakmayne chief Christopher Allen had this blunt statement to make about the situation; “Clubs come and go”.
This development signals a potential complaints nightmare for MOS who attract over 300,000 clubbers each year. MOS CEOLohan Presencer urged clubbers to unite, saying, “we must do everything in our power to save our club and our business”.
MOS started out as a London dance club in 1991, since then it has expanded into a multimedia business empire, which incorporates club tours, record labels and its flagship club in the Elephant and Castle district of South London. So perhaps both groups aren’t as ideologically opposed, as it would first appear. The MOS Empire lost much of its shine and influence many years ago, converting itself into hugely successful commercial operation, could the end be nigh for this clubbing empire? We’ll have to wait and see.
It seems that after reporting on MOS’ club dilemma the organization has decided to duke it out with Oakmayne. As expected, MOS has released a petition over the internet imploring its fans to save the club. Chief Executive of UK Music, Feargal Sharkey(and former lead singer of The Undertones), has thrown his support for MOS with this public statement, “Ministry of Sound is a London landmark, a UK success story and a globally recognised brand. Any threat to such a core part of its business should be considered very carefully.”
News this week from the University of Southern Mississippi; Professor of psychology, Dr. David Echevarria, is planning to use the new iPhone application Moodagent, created by Syntonetic Inc., in order to examine the impact of music on emotions.
What is Moodagent? It’s an iPhone application that creates playlists adjusted to your emotional state. You make sure that the tracks have a matching profile, then the application automatically creates playlists at your command. Over 1 billion tracks worldwide have already been synced to their matching profile, which is why this living and breathing application has become such a huge hit on the iPhone apps scene. Furthermore, its surprisingly accurate.
Dr. David Echevarria, who works at the behavioral neuroscience laboratory, hopes to use “Moodagent as a teaching tool to stimulate conversation, learning and critical thinking in the area of emotions and psychology.”
This 21st century piece of software has created a wave of excitement in the science world, with Echevarria commenting on the potential of the application, “as a psychologist, I am fascinated that a mobile application can discern subtle and elusive emotional qualities in music… Moodagent is essentially a form of artificial social intelligence.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we could change the Terminator’s iPod playlist to ‘chilled-out’?
Next Monday will see the launch of a new European-wide DJ talent competition, just for girls. Next Girl DJ hopes to encourage more females to get into DJing in what the organisers believe "is still a male dominated environment."
German female DJ, producer, and label owner Anja Schneider is one of the judges.
"I was really shocked to see so few female DJs featured in the annual Top 100 DJ chart in DJ Magazine this year, I think there were maybe 2 out of 100?," said Schneider.
"This is so crazy as I know that there are so many very talented women out there. I think some women are holding back too much and perhaps waiting for other people to push them, when really they should support each other and do it themselves.
"I hope this competition will be a good incentive for them to get on with it and show the world what they can do!"
Audio manufacturer JBL and sport lifestyle brand Roxy teamed up to launch the contest, which will run on letsmix.com, the site that recently hosted the all-sexes Next Generation DJ contest.
Full contest details below.
It’s already that time of year, Germany’s largest boutique festival Melt! has announced the first batch of names for 2010 and although quite predictable, it’s not bad at all.
We have Massive Attack headlining on Sunday, plus a slew of indie and electronic hotshots including British nu-gazers The XX, Berlin based Get Well Soon who just released his new album, German acts Ja, Panik, Tocotronic and Irish Kitsuné playmates Two Doors Cinema Club.
On a more electronic note, OstGut Ton will crossover even further into the indie market housing their own Berghain and Panorama stage with all resident artists participating including Ben Klock, Shed and Marcel Dettman plus many more. Modeselektor have been appointed curators of the Melt! Selektor Stage, and this is just the tip of the iceberg for Melt!
With a many more acts to come, this festival held in a beautiful and bizarre industrial complex called Ferropolis ("city of steel"), sets itself apart with its formidable space and quality line-up.
In 2008, Björk was the first to head the newly added Sunday for the festival and last year cranky grandfathers Oasis were headliners on the same day. After seeing Massive Attack recently, their live show will be very hard to top.
In the meantime you can get your hands dirty with Melt!Klub Weekender in Berlin, taking place from the 6th – 8th of May. This short club taster for Melt! festival will feature Tiga, LCD Soundsystem, Delphic and Zoot Woman.
Melt! takes place from the 16th – 18th July 2010. Get your tickets here.
No comment on this one just yet; I’ll have to pick my jaw up off the floor. Amidst a sea of new robotic percussion, this Wii-remote-controlled, Max/MSP-based mini-ensemble of wooden African percussion is musical, expressive, and downright stunning. I love the mechanical (literally and musically) grooves, and with a single human controlling it live, it’s true to the one-man-band history of these sorts of instruments. “One human, three machines, rhythm,” says the video description. I hope to do some research and share more soon, but I can’t resist sharing the results now.
Thanks to Patrick Flanagan for the tip on his work. Patrick predicts that “this is the beginning of steamfunk.”
Note: please see comments for more on what’s happening; Patrick is using robotics to effectively augment his own personal performance and improvisation, allowing him to play multiple instruments at once. He is actually playing in one of the available modes, however, and has some nice reflections on what he’s doing. I’ll follow up with more details – as I said, wanted to give you a peek at the video first. So, before you jump to conclusions, ask about what’s unclear or what you’d like to know. We’ve got the artist here to discuss.
I’m writing this from the wintry wonderland that is Stockholm, Sweden. How geeky is this country? Geeky enough to use their entire nation’s terrain to construct the world’s largest scale model of the solar system. And they’re the home of music software developer Propellerhead, with whom I’m talking a stroll in just a few minutes. In the Props’ honor, here’s a round-up of some handy stuff for Reason and Record users, plus a link to my most recent reviews.
The timing couldn’t be better. Propellerhead product specialist James Bernard has already begun a terrific blog full of tips and tricks for Reason and Record, and just yesterday, he kicked off a 52-episode series of video tutorials. The first installment has a look at how to construct a rhythmic gate using the dynamics section of Record. Of course, you could very easily apply this to another tool (even Props’ own Reason, with a little work), so it’s potentially worth a glimpse even if you’re not a Record user.
Propellerhead in general have done a much better job in recent months of getting more how-to content on their site. The whole Substance site has a round-up of materials from learning the basics of recording technique to artist profiles. There is, naturally, a bit of a commercial bent, but I wound up reviewing some of the tutorials while learning Record myself. It’s funny: we spend so much of our time and energy on reviews, but I find users generally use what they like. The area that really has endless potential is talking about how to actually use stuff.
For more video tutorials, check out the PropellerheadSW YouTube account, including micro-tutorials on Record, like the sidechain compression example here.
It starts with the absolute basics if you’re just starting out, it covers a tool that may not be immediately intuitive in its potential, and it’s (cough) better than the included documentation.
Reason’s user community keeps on plugging; you can find a new free or cheap ReFill of sound content nearly each week, it seems. The best I’ve seen recently is a terrific free ReFill of retro, chip-based drums: Free ReFill Features “Filthy & Nasty” Chip Drums [Synthtopia]
There’s some creative sound design in there. I’m definitely taking it as inspiration, as I’ve just begun working on some new drums with the deep Plogue Chipsounds collection, trying to produce some sets that push the chip sounds in unexpected directions.
Finally, Macworld recently published my reviews of Record and Reason. They’re equally relevant whether you’re a Mac or Windows user (having finished those reviews, I’m currently using both primarily on my PC).
The magazine took some flak in comments for running a Reason 4.0 review late, but I think it’s actually more appropriate to consider Reason 4 now in the context of the release of Record. Writing reviews is always a funny thing: I believe you have to judge a tool on its own terms and merits. You may discover a product is really fantastic, and still decide it’s not actually for you in your workflow. But I’m finding myself toying with Reason and Record, returning to Reason a bit in my own work after a long time away. They are marvelous pieces of engineering, and whether it’s common knowledge or not, I know a lot of producers and developers alike who have respect for the tools.
In fact, my biggest complaint about Record remains that it’s not a ReWire host; loading Ableton Live (among other tools) into Record as a mastering/mixing tool, for instance, seems like a no-brainer. If you agree, leave comments, and maybe we’ll see this feature in a future version.
I know one “review” CDM has gotten is not running enough tips and production tutorials, so I’m on it. There are a lot of tools out there, so let us know which are more important to you. (Pro Tools? Csound?) I’ll rest up here in Sweden and come back refreshed and ready to tackle that next week. Enjoy!
Six Degrees Traveler is a two hour, weekly radio show hosted by Six Degrees Records co-founder Bob Duskis. The program bills itself as “free form radio with a global edge” because it cheerfully crosses genre lines from global grooves to ambient electronica to dance to rock to folktronica to exclusive mash ups and “white label” remixes, all in the spirit of the glory days of format-less “free form” FM radio.
Traveler Installment 216: GLOBAL FUNK EDITION
ARTIST SONG TITLE ALBUM LABEL
Brownout Con El Cuete (Second Sky & Thomas Blondet Remix) Brownout Remixes Six Degrees
Guts L.U.V. “12″” Wax On
Tommy T Brothers The Prester John Sessions Easy Star
Hugh Masekela Jungle Jim I Am Not Afriad Blue Thumb
Jorge Ben Minha Estrela E Do Oriente Jorge Ben icp
Baris Manco Aheste (Baris K Edit) Promo Only
Nickodemus N’Dini (Tal M. Klein Remix) Sun People Remixed ESL
Gilberto Gil Cerebro Electronico Cerebro Electronico Universal Japan
The Rail Band feat. Mory Kante Mariba Yassa Classic Titles Frochot
Sky Jinx Money Money Nightwatch Tusk
Mombasa African Hustle Mombasa 2: African Rhythm & Blues Sonorama
Perfume Azul do sol Nascimento Nascimento Chantecler
Buari Advice From Father Advice From Father RCA
Alice Russell Living The Life of A Dreamer (Mr. Scruff Remix) Pot of Gold Remixes Six Degrees
Umbo & Balatz Groove On (Nick Fonkynson Instrumental Remix) “12″ Aniligital
Wild Rumpus Kazan I’m Starting to Feel Okay Vol.3 Endless Flight
Mother’s Finest “Dis Go Dis Way Dis Go Dat Way (12″” Version)” Another Mother Further Sony
Funkadelic Undisco Kid (Theo Parrish Ugly Edit) Ugly Edits Vol. 7 Promo Only
Eddy Grant California Style “12″ Ice
Tumblack Chunga Funk “7″” Barclay
Peter Pozorek Rumba #8 PeterPozorek
Bappi Lahiri Jimmy Jimmy Aja (Todd Terje Edit) Promo Only
Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo De Cotonou Noude Ma Gnin Tche De Me Vol.2 Echoes Analog Africa
Orchestra Baobab Sibou Odja Bamba SternsTraveler Installment 216: GLOBAL FUNK EDITION