Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Funky Breakage

Keeping in the spirit of trying to get a mix sounding better I bring to you Funky Breakage. This is another mixed that I've gotten to work on after a quick flick through and star rate of my Funky Breakbeat selection. There isn't much in it to be honest and it's not got a hell of an amount of Funk in the Breaks. But maybe that's where I should start focussing when I choose music.

Now it's not only about going for what I like as much as what I'd like to DJ with.

I got into this set and it could have been a full hour. I let my desire to spin 'Decapitation' in a mix get the better of me where it wasn't strictly a god idea. There's certainly nothing Funky about 'Decapitation' nor 'Countdown' .. So basically I ruined the end hahaha .. I've gotta laugh at myself for rendering these silly mistakes at the end of a mix. I'm downing tools and on my way to do something else in my mind before the last track drops.

That's the mix, but I've also had a go at my remixes and mashups again.

I reworked an earlier mashup featuring Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby and a Benny Benassi Remix of Outkast - Ghetto Music. Too much rushing for no reason :( It could sound a hella lot better than it does. Maybe when I'm inspired to do another mashup it will be tweaked in all the right places.

What else? I've been playing with Hydrogen Drum Machine again in Linux. I rearranged some sequences and built them up to time when exported to wav and mixed a Michael Jackson acapella over the top.

I did it a couple of times with a couple of drum sequences. I then added some other sounds by playing another track over one of the drum/vocal recordings. It sounds rather messy but I know what I'm listening for and given the chance I'd re-work this in a proper studio with someone who knows what they're doing. Better still I can get to understand my levels even further and produce multi-layered smooth sounding mashups and remixes. After all, it's not strictly true that one has to spend the Earth on hi tech gear - the idea should be master and exploit what ever is available until one can go no further :)

At the moment, a finished mix leads to thinking up a name and rendering something in the way of artwork to accompany each mix. Any remix or mashup being uploaded is also subject to having accompanying moving graphics to make viewing the track on youtube slightly more interesting. Wouldn't it be nice to be paid to do my hobby on a day to day :) This processing of events takes hours. Then blogging it and posting links to uploads is also time consuming.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Altitude Problems

I was indecisive about recording a mix so I went back to the task of sorting through my collection. I thought I'd make a start on the Techno folder and see where it got me. I've been able to separate some of the various Techno sub genres and put them into my preferred new categories with added star ratings. This operation still requires fine tuning because I'm sure I'm going to continually be shuffling tracks around.

I was going to play some of my dirty sounding Techno tracks that I've managed to quaranteen but I thought I'd stick with the lighter side and play a few Tech House / Techno tracks and save the dirtiest til later :) Besides, there's still a fair few tracks to sift through so all in good time. Check out this mix. I've had to encode it at 128kbps to reduce the file size for Mix Cloud. Hi Quality version is over at House-Mixes.


I was scrolling through some of my older uploads on House-Mixes and came across one of the few attempts that I took at mixing some old skool jungle tracks back in November. This upload has had little over 400 plays and I wondered why so I played it for the first time in months. I listened to it a couple times and then decided I was going to have a bash at churning out an up tempo mix.

I dug into some of my newly arranged Jump Up Drum & Bass tracks and managed to pull this off.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Broken Sequel (Re-Boxed Mix)

Yesterday's attempt at rendering a mini breakbeat mix with a similar level of listenability as "House Be Boppin" tripped at the first hurdle. It didn't sound to bad but I wasn't as satisfied with it as "House Be Boppin". So I mixed it again today and think I've achieved a simple goal of smooth transitioning almost throughout with satisfactory use of level controls. I think the mix breakdowns are appropriately placed and of a fair duration. The build ups are nicely presented too.

What does it lack? Flare! It's just a mix at the end of the day of other people's manifestation of art (music) .. Besides blending two tracks there's not much of my own stamp being placed on each mix. Accessibility to Deck effects when activated by the controller kills access to the Deck EQ which leaves only the mouse and maybe the keyboard. I do what I can with the mouse but it's doesn't sound nearly enough lol.

For now I'll continue to try and hold a mix together

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

House Be Boppin ..

A long time has passed since I've recorded a mix with the sole purpose of focussing on evolving what I've leant so far about the sounds of music and digital DJing.

I recall describing one of my earlier mixes as "Schizo" to a listener. Even though all the tracks were breakbeat, there was too much change of flow of which none were pleasant to the ear. I've had to pay more attention to how a mix begins, carries, and ends which means having a much better understanding of my track selection. I've since made good use of the star rating system and lately I've spent time re-categorising my track collection.

I was needy of sub-genre categorisation to ease and speed up my selection process when flicking through tens, maybe even hundreds, of tracks and cueing the next tune. So I've started to work through and sort everything by flavour. So now for example, instead of looking at all of my favourite tracks in each genre, I can sort by vocal and non vocal tracks to ensure that I don't get voice clashes which sounds awful at best. Better (or automated) control and less time thinking about track names, more time working on the blend. I also found that a lot of my tracks lost the assigned information after my last clean install so I'm having to go through each track to modify and get the ID3 tags written.

DJkit launched it latest competition to win a pair of Novation Dicers at the beginning of July. Entry is as simple as submitting a mix. The criteria is Summer Tunes. So whatever your take is on what a summertime mix set should sound like will be listened to and judged. Yes it's a difficult one to win because whoever determines the short list is ultimately in control of the winner. So to some people a mix might be the best they ever heard, whilst with others it might be the worst. Challenging!

With the competition in mind and some newly sorted tracks, I decided it was time to stop streaming every mix for a moment and get back to mixing 100% focussed on the music and not being diverted to check the thing it still streaming every 30 seconds. I dug into the newly formed house folder with new ratings and dropped eleven tracks in 35 minutes. Am I pleased? Getting there. I've submitted it for judging. I don't mind winning or loosing, it's the taking part that counts as well as being able to get back to recording a mix with nothing in mind but delivering as higher level performance as possible.

Must have been lucky, or just in the zone.