Listened

I love Daft Punk and have always been somewhat mesmerised by their music. For me the genius is captured in the documentary Daft Punk Unchained. I think that this is eptimosed with Random Access Memories. What I love the most is the way the tracks and the album as a whole ebbs and flows. Whether it be the changes in intensity or the blend of acoustic and electronic. As a sidenote, Darkside also created a remix of the album.
Bookmarked The art of DJing: Jeff Mills (Resident Advisor)

Certain DJs use certain techniques to mix. So it’s not always pod up pod down. Some DJs use the EQ to filter out the frequencies and thus the audio. Some DJs use the crossfader because it’s a very literal way of going between tracks. Some kind of feed and tease the line levels. Some DJs work in a way of, I suppose, amplitude, where they mix by building sounds together, but not so much attention to subtracting and deleting.

Will Lynch talks with Jeff Mills about the art of DJing. The more I read about different artists, the more I realise there is a certain misnomer around what DJing actually means. I remember growing up with the perception that it was just about scratching records, but as Jeff Mills explains, it can be about making those records too:

Do you shop for music much?

Not as much as I used to. I would first try to make it. Or I would alter someone else’s track, just for me to use, not to sell it. But if say, I like someone’s track, but just the bassline and the drums, I’ll make a special version of that just for me.

This reminds me of Mark Ronson’s album Versions, which he produced in order to use in DJ sets.

Another word that Mills uses is ‘programmer’. This is in reference to the connection between the DJ and the audience:

To be a programmer, you have to put yourself in the audience’s position. Not only that, but you have to really know your audience, and you have to anticipate what they want to have, and what they need to have, at what time. When I think of these type of things I think of DJs like Larry Levan. He knew his audience, because he was part of his audience. He knew exactly what to do at what time for those people. There was no division between what was happening in the DJ booth and in the audience.

Jeff Mills also provides an insight into the curative mind of the DJ. He explains how he only listens to the last quarter of songs, because that is usually where all the parts have been mixed together:

So when I buy music, I typically focus on the last quarter of the track. And when I’m DJing also, it’s the last quarter that I’d prefer to play more than the beginning. The track breaks down in the last quarter and becomes more solidified. That’s where you find the better mix between sounds, that’s where you find the real groove of the track, and the most important elements of the track. All in the last quarter.

Watched

From Parliament to Devo to Dr. Dre, the synth sounds of the Minimoog are as famous as the musicians that have used the analog wonder to such great effect. Your faithful captain, William Kurk, is back in the studio today to explore the #SynthSoundsOf…the Minimoog!

William Kurk unpacks the sounds of the Minimoog associated with a range of artists. More than just modelling these sounds, Kurk walks through the construction of these sounds. This is what is missing in videos such as Moog’s Sound Lab series.

Watched Moby’s Drum Machine & Synth Collection โ€” Videos โ€” Moby,Mobyโ€™s Drum Machine & Synth Collection from Moby

viceโ€™s motherboard channel heads deep into the bowels of mobyโ€™s manhattan apartment-studio, where he unveils his prized assemblage of rarified gadgets, bizarre synthesizers, and outrรฉ drum devices.

Moby discusses his collection of drum machines. He touches on the different characteristics associated with each. I came upon this via Reverb’s History of the Drum Machine

Marginalia

What I like about drum machines is that they are awkward

Watched

Kimbra gained international fame when “Somebody That I Used To Know,” her duet with Gotye, hit the airwaves back in 2011. But prior to/since that single, Kimbra has crafted her solo career as meticulously and beautifully as her tracks, using a deft hand for live sampling, looping, and synthesis to build fascinating soundscapes.

Kimbra demonstrates the way in which she uses sampling within her music. In particular, she uses the Kaoss Pad 3 to sample and add effects.

Watched

Leon Theremin. Sly & The Family Stone. Prince. Drum machines have influenced our music and the way we perceive rhythm since the Rhythmicon popped onto the scene.

William Kurk takes a walk through the development of the drum machine to the use of applications, such as Ableton and Fruity Loops, today. Along with the discussion of the fault that produced the 808, this video provides a useful overview of the way technology has evolved over time. It is also interesting to think of this alongside Brian Eno’s discussion of technology and music.

Listened A History of Electronic Music by an author

Hereโ€™s a podcast on the history of electronic music, suitably called A History Of Electronic Music.

I remember first listening to this podcast from Paul Sheeky years ago. In a series of episodes he charts some of the technology and movements. I returned to it recently spurred on by the work of Chris Beckstrom and the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (not that I have been). Along with the compilation OHM: Early Gurus of Electronic Music and the documentary Synth Britannia, this podcast is a great resource for appreciating the history associated with electronic music.