Tuesday, February 17, 2009


"Go on gig wit it." - Them G.Spot Boyz

My process these days? Every Monday evening I open up Ableton Live, pull up my ever-evolving Beat Research set and drop in 6-12 tracks that I've downloaded that week, rapidshares and megadownloads and mediafire of all sorts and from various sources. I warp the tracks (ie, tell Ableton where the downbeats are), which allows me to stretch tempo independent of pitch, which I do a lot. Then I insert them into tempo-similar blocks. Within those blocks, I'm loosely pre-sequencing tracks by placing them adjacent to others that seem to flow with them, either harmonically, rhythmically, or vibewise, Then, that night at the club, I'll play my way through the sequence, real-time triggering songs, crossfading, dubbing out, adjusting tempo.

In the booth, I sometimes work in the opposite direction from what I arranged. I play down to up. That's how this set emerged, actually. I'm not sure what the implications are, if any, for that sort of reverse flow to appeal to me more in this case.

This mix is a small slice of recent adventures in Beat Research (late December 08). I call it "Gig Wit It" because it emerges from a gig, but more importantly, because it's dance music. It's the sort of thing I might play in an uptempo mood, btwn 140-115 bpm, a little later in the night (/early in the morn). Otherworldly electronic timbres and Caribbeanized beats -- lil snappy mnml dubstep dancehall cluuub music, not to draw lines or anything. I hope the lines sound fuzzy from the get-go.

They should, since no single song ever plays on its own for more than 4 bars. Lately, I've been tending toward the long blend, playing two or more tracks simultaneously for an extended period. It's a mashy sort of mixing and though one might expect for things to get a little too dense (they sometimes do), the approach can work quite nicely with more minimal music (much of this is).

One final thing about this process: I finished this mix a month ago, but I've been sitting on it, struggling to put together the words to frame them. I'm far more confident about the tracks I've assembled. Hope you gig.

01. Frikstailers & MC Gringo, "Fudegú de Perequetê"

02. Them G.Spot Boyz, "Stanky Legg"

03. Shackleton, "In the Void" (DJ /Rupture Remix)
04. Zombie, "Dripping Like Water"
05. Terror Danjah, "Trojan"
06. Scuba, "Tense"
07. An-ten-nae, "Citoyan Du Monde" (Dov Remix)
08. L-Wiz, "Girl From Codeine City"
09. The Dice Man, "Polygon Window"
10. Soul Clap, "Die Ente"
11. Kirkledove, "Middle East Riddim"
12. Emynd, "We Don't Give A ... (Instrumental)" (mixed & mastered by starkey)
13. Oliver Huntsmann, "La Boum"
14. Starkey, "Pressure"
15. Dusk + Blackdown, "Lata VIP"
16. Teetimus and Daseka, "Beauty Riddim"
17. Glenn Frey, "You Belong to the City"


Blogger Max said...

This looks like a really solid track-listing. I'm glad you're using Ableton to do something that is unique to the medium, as opposed to doing the same old transitioning, pitch-shifting, and dubbing that you could do with turntables and a delay peddle. This multi-genre bpm re-configuration looks interesting- thanks!

-Max Pearl

9:15 AM  
Blogger Gnawledge said...

i love the transition @ 8:24, ima sucka for those 138/69 bpm half-time shifts, and downwards better than up.

it would be cool to get approx. time begin + end of each track, since theyre so multiplayered it gets hard to distinguish, esp for non-techno)music(philes. or a (more-zoomed-than-last-time) ableton screen shot?

do you really take keys+harmony into account? can you give any examples, or any (tone-deaf) help for hearing that in your mix?

much danke

9:23 AM  
Anonymous eheavy/soul clap said...

w00t. nice mix mr. wax!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous eheavy/soul clap said...

o. and nice blog modyfier.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Jimbalaya said...

I just found this (both the mix & the site) via Twitter (it's the first mix, hopefully of many, that I've found there)...
I can't wait to have a listen after work!


11:18 AM  
Anonymous w&w said...

thx for the good words, folks.

gnawledge -- the transition you're talking about is the moment when we drop into l-wiz's "girl from codeine city," a half-step wubby banger. i love that 140/70 hinge myself -- so ripe for mixing techno, dub(step), and crunk among others.

for people like you who really want to know what is playing when, i've gone ahead and done something i was thinking about doing anyway: i've bounced down a video-version of the mix so you can see all the transitions and hear em as they're happening. i don't expect that this will make gripping viewing or anything, but for those who are curious, you can find it here:

as for mixing&matching keys, i confess that I only ever do so from an informal/intuitive sense of what sounds right. i don't have perfect pitch and don't usually take the time to figure out keys of songs in the same way that i grok/analyze tempos. mainly, i just use my ears and try to come up with "harmonious" mixes. in general, i try not to pitch-shift stuff too much, as that sounds -- to me -- like a far more radical transformation than tempo-shifting (when not locked to pitch).

in the case of this mix, i think the only track i've pitch shifted is glenn frey's "you belong to the city" (up 2 semitones), b/c i really wanted to underscore the similarity of the guitar from the beauty riddim (whose tonal center i defer to, in part b/c already playing) and the horn line from the frey song. any other harmonizing happening here has to do with sequencing, which, natch, was purposeful -- and, in some cases, initially guided by consonance/dissonance (again, "to my ears").

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, nothing like going to a club to hear tracks i could (and proabbly did) download myself in the last week

5:55 PM  
Anonymous w&w said...

yes, very true. much better to hear these in a club. thx 4 da snark! sorry no "dubplates" =P

6:13 AM  
Anonymous w&w said...

also, i'm taking it you just scanned the tracklist and didn't listen, but DO note that none of these tracks are played in this mix the way they would sound on their own.

too bad u can't download haterade.

6:19 AM  
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