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Thread: dj mixes

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb dj mixes

    What do people prefer,
    an eclectic dj set or the pressure and involvement of a one genre 'journey' type set?
    i think overall i stand pro one genre if the genre is good.
    the kinda coldcut journeys by dj type mix, just doesn't really work overall for me.
    it's skillful clever clever mixing one, creative hypnotic mood building nil. The only journey i want to go with something like that is to the bin i think, its an end unto itself and doesn't lead anywhere, and it's ultimatley impressive but not seductive.

    I think the only break to actually create a continuum that electic club mixes have had, has been two things;

    the emergence of those richard x type bastard pop tracks, which is basically a single eclectic club mix captured on wax. They should have possibly influenced another genre, pop music but they haven't really, i haven't really heard whitney over krafwerk since.

    also mp3 djing software which allows really quick mixing and looping etc, easier to build a groove and break it and take the pop out of the songs it uses.
    both these things are one step removed from djing tho as they both involve mp3s not records.

    what do you think, completley disagree, is it too late for the one genre set apart from in emerging genres?

  2. #2
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    Dunno, it's a mood thing I guess. Eclecticism in music is obviously a very appealing idea, but not when it degenerates into just randomly throwing things together and thinking you're clever --- a feeling I got with things like the Chicken Lips mix on K!7, for example (OK, maybe because of things like the inclusion of that Nina Hagen track, who's beyond the pale for me). When it's done well, it can connect seemingly unrelated musical dots in a fantastic way, a real musical education for your audience, if it's done just for the sake of dropping 200 records an hour it's not so hot. If you're keeping the dancers (and gyals!) in mind, that is, and not just the turntablists or beatspotting anoraks.

    On the other hand, a carefully crafted one-genre set of, say, old skool jungle, vintage rocksteady or Detroit Techno (or grime, or dancehall, or Bass, or...) can be absolutely thrilling. Can't say this about most mid-tempo house or chilled out downtempo shizness, though --- maybe one-genre mixes work best when it's upfront and energetic stuff, and eclectic mixes that have lots of tempo and style changes can include more quiet, offbeat or just plain weird tunes in between without wrecking the overall mood.
    I guess eclectic mixes can also focus more on individual songs as opposed to the sort of shape-shifting textures you get in good instrumental one-genre sets.

    It's also a question of set length - obviously some djs will want to (appear to) be on a permanent upward energy curve (with some breakdowns of course) but you have to know your business if you want to give people on the floor the impression that you haven't hit them your very best shot just yet.

    Lastly, I don't think it's too late for one-genre sets of any type (at least I'm very much hoping it isn't, as most of the ones I seem to be doing lately are 60s/70s soul with a touch of (afro)funk/disco/reggae...)

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    yeah but downtempo stuff is about the lack of building and rhythmic danger and all that, it's about providing a space for chilling maan.

    there was a trend in electroclash for not mixing in some quarters, i think they i saw some bloke called jonny slut from nag nag nag describing at as soulboy, which was rich. I saw him dj and he wouldn't win any awards either. But i think it depends on the format as well maybe, reggae or electro pop doesn't have to be mixed to build up stuff but electronic stuff lends itself more

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    OK, downtempo (by definition!) might not up the BPMs a whole lot but the point is to take you somewhere else, 'journey'-like as you so well put it, so the emphasis is more on, how shall I say, letting sounds morph and flow into one another --- not building up in the classic sense but still going someplace, I suppose. In the end, even in downtempo, you're still mixing, but whether or not your audience (most likely bombed out of their box) hears it and appreciates is another matter!

    You're right, some things are more suited for blending than others, but even if you aren't beatmatching or overlapping tracks much (e.g. in reggae sets) you've got to do at least a bit of thinking about how they will go together, maybe you play the vocal followed by the version/dub, showcase style, or you move from vintage to more modern tracks, run different versions of the same riddim one after the other, etc.

    And yes, those electroclash poseurs (Jojo de Freq, this Jonny Slut character, NYC Electroclash djs etc.) seemed to want to make a point of their nonexistent chops (btw, did you hear that DJ Godfather stuff someone put up a while ago? What a contrast!). Emphasizing technique or lack of technique ahead of the music are both bad, in my book. Personally, I can't mix for shit, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try my best!

  5. #5
    captain easychord Guest

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    i'll have to agree with you guys that an upfront mono-genre mix is the finest. but of course the material and technique has to be top shelf. i think that when one removes all genre variables from the DJ's performance it becomes a matter of moments, the temporal, layering...pretty much the purest aspects of DJ'ing.

    i find that that mashup style gets trying in a stretch. i'm always overcome with this kind of fatigue when presented with that many "GEE WHIZ THAT WAS NIFTY" blends. my main problem is that the substitute backing track is most often inferior to the original. like, why the hell would i want to listen to missy elliot over, say, dee-lite when i could hear over timbaland.

    i like hollertronix cos' they mash up the genres once in a while but mostly stick to really tasteful and tight mono-genre stretches. stuff like soulwax and the avalanches bores me in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captain easychord
    like, why the hell would i want to listen to missy elliot over, say, dee-lite when i could hear over timbaland.
    yeah that was very annoying....especially cos if they'd laid say, phil oakey over a tlc track it could have been potentially loads more interesting. missed the point somewhat.
    having said that i think a lot of that stuff stands up- i heard 'as heard on radio soulwax' again recently and was surprised by how good it sounded....and very cohesive as well

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    might sound like a cop out or fence sitting but I think the DJs I like best of all manage to be eclectic within a genre that's broad enough to encompass music that can still surprise you mid set. I tend to prefer hearing music that is 99 percent new to my ears when out, a little twinge of recognition here and there maybe but generally a succession of tunes that I have never heard before but suddenly want to own. Dance music genres are so ridiculously narrow these days that sets can be extremely predictable. On new years day I heard someone play what almost sounded like the same record going on for about four hours, it was a good record but far too long. Perhaps the best djs define their own genres

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    Quote Originally Posted by the captain
    why the hell would i want to listen to missy elliot over, say, dee-lite when i could hear over timbaland.
    Good point. I find most bootleg stuff quickly loses its appeal in repeat listens. I don't think it's made to last long past that first buzz of "wha?", anyway. I guess the 'how' aspect outweights the 'why' here. Why do I put a Chaka Khan vocal over "Being Boiled" --- well, because I can, that's why!
    (that said, there's some good stuff on that Richard X album, like the Kelis track, if it all wasn't so damn overplayed... and Dangermouse's Grey Album was worth a listen, too.)

    Someone (names, names!) once made a great comment about genres dying as soon as David Bowie discovered them (d n' b after Earthling, etc., etc.), and the last thing I heard was that he was all into mashups, at one even offering a car for the best mashup of his song material. Bowie, when'd he become such a shameless bandwagon jumper anyway?

    [I realize I am using the terms 'mashup' and 'bootleg' fairly interchangeably --- am I right in supposing bootlegs are mashups which include non-authorized material?]

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by minusone
    Perhaps the best djs define their own genres
    precisely.

    some records sound good together, side by side, some don't. the point is that it's gotta be more than tempo / key that links them.

    I've done my fair share of 6 hour stints at d'n'b raves and far too many hip hop nights... one genre, one tempo... not sure I'd go out of my way to attend such events any more, though (whatever the genre).

    I like eclectic sets, but only in a widescreen sense - so the switches from genre to genre are part of an overall dynamic... "here's some uptempo hip hop records" -> "here's some disco" -> "here's some electro" -> "here's some grime"... rather than coming over like channel hopping.... "here's a hip hop record" -> "mixed into johnny cash" -> "which is the same tempo as this motorhead b-side" -> "anyone spot that snippet of rhythm and sound that I dropped at the wrong speed?".

    I think something like coldcut's journeys by dj is a different kettle of fish cos it's designed as a sit-down listening experience, and as such I think it's pretty successful. but if I went to a club and saw a DJ do something similar I'd get frustrated.

  10. #10
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    Personally, i much prefer compilations to mixes. Maybe it's my rampant desire for the original artifact (ie the whole song, unsullied and unmuddied).

    But an argument for both sides - on the one-genre side, you have Mayer's Speicher 1 - astounding. On the other, you have 2manydj's mix on the Colette #4 comp - Sunglasses at Night over a brass band playing House of the Rising Sun, and its good enough to bring a tear to the eye.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by minusone
    might sound like a cop out or fence sitting but I think the DJs I like best of all manage to be eclectic within a genre that's broad enough to encompass music that can still surprise you mid set.
    Yes, I think the real important point is the broadness of the genre, as well as the degrees of invention and eclecticism allowed within the singular tracks. When a genre have reached the point where it produces DJ tools rather than anthems, mono-genre sets always get bloody boring. Why anyone would want to marvel at the DJs ability to make two almost identical tracks fit so perfectly that they actually become identical, is beyond me. The music should be better than the DJ.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamarplazt
    Yes, I think the real important point is the broadness of the genre, as well as the degrees of invention and eclecticism allowed within the singular tracks. When a genre have reached the point where it produces DJ tools rather than anthems, mono-genre sets always get bloody boring. Why anyone would want to marvel at the DJs ability to make two almost identical tracks fit so perfectly that they actually become identical, is beyond me. The music should be better than the DJ.


    i think tiny reminders and historical shocks really work eg jeff mills dropping i feel love during a heads down techno set, if a dj can put put in things that work really well then that may work, like dropping movers night flight to kaos during a dubstep set..
    i think the whole dj tools thing killed techno in a way, looping millsy stuff, it was made for him and no one really followed it well, apart from maybe surgeoon and chain reaction who in the late ninetees managed to make something good out of that looping stuff, taking it right out.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mms
    tiny reminders
    Two Lone Swordsmen?
    Original versions of current favorites work well, too, I find.

    re.: historical shocks by Jeff Mills. Warm-up dj spends over an hour carefully building up a set just so he can hand the whole thing over at seething point... only for JM to drop a James Brown track. Great shit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mms
    i think tiny reminders and historical shocks really work eg jeff mills dropping i feel love during a heads down techno set, if a dj can put put in things that work really well then that may work, like dropping movers night flight to kaos during a dubstep set..
    i think the whole dj tools thing killed techno in a way, looping millsy stuff, it was made for him and no one really followed it well, apart from maybe surgeoon and chain reaction who in the late ninetees managed to make something good out of that looping stuff, taking it right out.
    Yeah I was thinking of a mills set as well when I posted - it was at the end and he didn't feel the need to play all minimal techno so managed to drop things like dan hartman's vertigo which fit with the other stuff he was playing whilst being from an entirely different genre. He also threw in snatches of mentasm which were wild. I can't listen to anyone else loopy techno, it never has that hyper-kinetic funk that mills brings to it with his mixing. I've seen him play at sonar a few times and whoever comes on after seems to kill the atmosphere he's created stone dead despite the fact that it's always a big techno jock

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by minusone
    Yeah I was thinking of a mills set as well when I posted - it was at the end and he didn't feel the need to play all minimal techno so managed to drop things like dan hartman's vertigo which fit with the other stuff he was playing whilst being from an entirely different genre. He also threw in snatches of mentasm which were wild. I can't listen to anyone else loopy techno, it never has that hyper-kinetic funk that mills brings to it with his mixing. I've seen him play at sonar a few times and whoever comes on after seems to kill the atmosphere he's created stone dead despite the fact that it's always a big techno jock
    well as the wizard before all these genres were really there, he mixed up everything - see that deephousepage website as well.... kano next to belgian stuff next to acid.. made sense..
    people used to mix up everything due to lack of records of one genre when i first started going to clubs, these being dance music clubs rather than soul clubs, but it was kinda different cos people were searching around alot more then, checking whatever they could out, now it's kinda easier.

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