Posts Tagged ‘techno’

Happy 909 Day

Last year Tom at Music Thing (RIP)1 had a nice bit for 808 day.  Those are big shoes to fill, but I couldn’t let 9.09.09 pass without a mention.

I tried to think of some quotes about the 909 but drew a blank.  The 808 was as common in hip-hop as in techno, while the 909 is exclusively a house and techno machine.  I enjoy listening to hip-hop, but I don’t really feel connected to hip-hop culture.  But I do feel like techno, and electronic music more generally, is part of me, not just something to consume but something to participate in.  Perhaps that why I am so fond of the 909.

Here’s Daft Punk:

Here’s Jeff Mills:

1. RIP to the blog, not to Tom.  As far as I know.

How will you celebrate 808 day?

Happy 8.08.08.  How are you planning to celebrate?  What’s that?  You haven’t made plans?  Never fear, Tom from Music Thing has many tips to get you started.

Personally, I will be shaking butt along to one of my all-time favorite techno songs:

And why don’t you kick back with this 808-flavored tune I wrote a couple years ago?

[audio:http://www.ofrecordings.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/of001_05_kevin_ferguson_bonus_track_1.mp3]

OK, my work here is done.  See you in a year + a month + a day.

Why Johnny can’t mix

In one of my Beatport diatribes last week, I mentioned that I have a hard time DJing in Live. I’ve been puzzling over why. Ignore for the moment all the cool effects and re-arrangement possibilities that Live offers. Since Live keeps everything tempo-synced, once I’ve warped my tracks, I should be able to make the exact same mix I do on my decks with less effort. Right?

But it hasn’t worked out that way. My Live mixes come out sort of feeble.

I recently thought of a simple explanation: I don’t know my digital dance music nearly as well as I know my vinyl. While doing the actual beatmatching, I’m forced to listen fairly closely to both records. I also tend to let them play together for a while after the beats are aligned but before actually starting the transition. And beatmatching is something that you have to practice a bit, so I’m doing this over and over. In the process, I internalize the structure of the tracks and learn where transitions and breaks are. And that is the key to making two tracks flow together, not crossfaders or EQs.

If that’s the case, the solution is pretty simple: I just need to listen to all my digital dance tracks, all the way through, with an attentive ear. It may seem odd that I haven’t done this already, but it can be kind of weird to listen to house or techno songs straight through outside of a mix.

The traditional sense of the word “techno”

I just finished listening to Sessions, the new Carl Craig anthology/mix CD. I found it refreshing more than anything else. I don’t mean it was a welcome change of pace from whatever; I mean the synths are crispy, the beats are tight, the arrangements are clean, and it feels like drinking a lager on a warm spring evening. If you like Detroit it’s worth a listen. But if you like Detroit, you probably don’t need me to tell you that.

It’s only nine bucks from Amazon digital downloads, which works out to less than three cents per minute. If you just want to sample one song, I would recommend the Grammy-failing-to-win remix of “Like a Child” or the techier “Oscillator.”

The loosest sense of the word “techno”

I was on Amazon, looking for the new Autechre album (there’s a review over at Electronic Music World) and I noticed that it was the fourth best-selling album in Music > Dance & DJ > Techno.

For the moment, let’s just accept this broad definition of “techno.” The real question is, what are the topselling techno albums on Amazon?

Number two was “Play” by Moby. Which is an OK record, and I admit to listening to it quite a bit in high school. But it’s almost 10 years old; that dude is getting a lot of mileage out of one duet with Gwen Stefani.

Number one was the soundtrack to Marie Antoinette. Uhm, what? Well, apparently it includes a couple Aphex Twin tracks.

So now you have the secret to becoming a best-selling techno artist: get your music on the same record as rock stars.