Friday, February 06, 2009


My ambition in making this mix was to mimic all my favourite DJs of the moment - Marcel Dettmann, Marcel Fengler, Donato Dozzy, etc. - but without any of their skills. To do this I would need a good recipe for success, which went something like this:

- Go through your recent downloads and find Berghain/Berlin/dubstep crossover tracks that are dark and rhythmically unusual. I plumped for FOUR of the Scuba remixes - remixes are good because you get two impressive names for the price of one, and also choosing four Scuba ones lends my mix a bit of CONCEPT.

- Then find some more obscure ambient stuff for the start of the mix; everyone loves weird droney bits to get them in the mood and the more obscure the better. I kicked off my new year's eve mix CD with a Loscil track, this time it's Experimental Audio Research!

- Definitely include one or more tracks from the whole Basic Channel/Chain Reaction axis, because there is no greater indication of 'I know my shit!' than repping Moritz & Markus. I've almost gone overboard - there's Basic Channel, there's Vainqueur/Maurizio and there's even a Substance remix in there.

- Next you need a detroit or chicago (or detroit- or chicago-sounding) ANTHEM, so you can go from all the pounding rhythmic stuff into this unabashed cheesy HIGH and watch everyone marvel at how you can be both 'intense' and 'fun'. For me, it had to be Rolando's recent EP, because that covers the UR ground as well.

- Of course the mix has to end with a blissed-out finale, and what better choice than an early and somewhat forgotten Ostgut Ton EP. I even went the extra mile and included a sample from a famous dubstep record over the top of the break, just for kicks. Happily the keys kind of match, so I didn't even have to bother playing around with the ableton pitch function - sometimes things just fall into place!

For me, recording a mix is a bit like eating a delicious mango. Selecting tracks is like being at the fruit stall, taking your pick from the fancies on offer and going for a particular sound. My sound has been with me since I was a 6 year old, listening to my mother's Billie Holiday records. It's all about soul and feeling. Then I let the choice of tracks ripen - like the mango - maybe while reading a great novel or just chilling out with my friends. Living with these tracks over the years means I have developed a kind of familiarity with them that goes beyond the latest-fad choices of other DJs.

Once I decide to record the mix, I start the peeling process - testing the edges of each track, the mutable bits that in combination can produce something more than their individual parts. Cassy once said that she doesn't need big breakdowns in tracks - she's the DJ, that's her job! I like to think that carefully carving your own story out of the tracks is the mark of a truly delicious mix. When I cut a mango, I generally isolate the difficult centre first before moving to the juicy side bits. In this mix, I wanted to make the first part unusual to reflect my more esoteric musical tastes. I think a DJ should try and inscribe their personality on a mix, so the first half of this one is exploring my more thoughtful, introspective side. Then, after the mid-way break, I go for the juicier, more rhythmic parts. I like to party, and I hope you do too.

Above all, this mix should be like a satisfying meal with a distinctive flavour and a memorable aftertaste. House/techno should be soulful and individual, so I've tried to get this across. This is my heart in musical form...savour it like you would that mango.

01. Experimental Audio Research - 'Untitled 3' [Mille Plateaux 036]
02. Shackleton - 'The Rope Tightens [Badawi Remix]' [Skull Disco CD002]

03. Ø - 'Loihdittu' [Sähkö 023]

04. Scuba - 'Poppies [Substance Remix]' [Hotflush RMX003]

05. Pan•American - 'K.Luminate' [Kranky 041]

06. Tomas Jirku - 'Baryon' [Substractif 002]

07. Scuba - 'From Within [Marcel Dettmann Remix]' [Hotflush RMX005]

08. Headhunter - 'Grounded '[Tempa GROUND]

09. Scuba - 'Hard Boiled [SCB Edit]' [Hotflush RMX005]

10. Basic Channel - 'Octagon' [Basic Channel 007]

11. Ozy - 'Pull The Strings' [Force Inc. 222]

12. Rolando - 'Where Were You' [Delsin 073]

13. Scuba - 'Ruptured [Surgeon Remix]' [Hotflush RMX003]

14. Vainqueur - 'Lyot [Maurizio Mix]' [Maurizio M-2]

15. Brtschitsch - 'Twirl' [Ostgut Ton 002]

16. Burial - 'Shell Of Light' [Hyperdub LP2]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm desperate to impress with this mix and will take any negative responses VERY BADLY.

2:43 PM  
Blogger chris said...

this mix totally sucks. as does your DJ'ing philosophy...

in all seriousness, respect - looks fantastic, though i do wonder if you pushed that mango analogy a little bit too far...

3:25 PM  
Blogger jonnyp said...

Just downloading now Teleost. If this isnt better than the Cio D'or mix I will be bitterly disappointed! JonnyP

3:13 AM  
Blogger Tromczynski said...

Loved the intro part. It's good in general too ;)

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been listening through the weekend and really enjoyed the mix. Nice build through the first half. Thanks modyfier and thanks teleost. JonnyP

2:10 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

this is super-great.

the recipe worked imo....i'm gonna try it out myself.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew going in that this was going to be good, but that is because the tracklist is almost completely lifted from proven sources. Call me crazy, but isn't djing supposed to be about your own ideas of expression and sound shaping and not someone else's? If you made this mix tape two years ago, which remix of "Who's afraid of Detroit?" would be on it? We all look up to others in our respective fields, but they are meant to inspire us to follow our own true path. Technically speaking though, it was a well crafted mix, and I can enjoy it as a snapshot of the scene as it is today.

9:34 AM  
Blogger modyfier said...

thanks for weighing in ghostpattern313...

to paraphrase what i wrote to teleost in an email about this:
maybe i am myopic in thinking that my own approach (which focuses on ignoring audience/reception and just making things because i am curious and they make me happy) applies to others...but i suppose i should be more bendy in realizing that not everyone is like this...this is the aim of the series: to collect different creative drivers and see what the varying results deliver.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for liking it a bit.

And don't get me wrong: I'm happy with the results, I just went about it in a formulaic way.
I was trying to leave it up to the listener to work out where and whether I was being serious or not. I could do with some help, actually, because I just don't know any more...

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all about creating a theory, testing it, reviewing the results, and starting again.

Love the post, the honesty about 'the formula', and your attitude to the process.

As I've learned over the years..
1. there is a formula for making decent mixes
2. until you learn the formula you'll never be a good dj.
3. you have to forget the formula to be a great dj.

The formula of mixing teaches the baseline expectations of what a good mix is about. The artistry is moving past that and nudging your personality / emotions / inner voice into a mix that is levels higher then that.

But it all starts with something familiar. For most of us its working from a formula until it becomes clear how we can insert our own voice into a mix.

6:56 AM  
Blogger pipecock said...

getting your personality through in a mix is definitely the hard part. i think it's far different from how a club set is done, but both end up being influenced by the same two major issues: the tracks you chose, and how you go between them. it's so simple, right? but each one speaks volumes about the person behind them. track X sounds different when surrounded by certain tracks, or when it is mixed in a certain manner. the number of variations available is nearly limitless.

this is why i am usually disappointed in so many mixes, and why i like things like the mix series that Scott Ferguson did for us at infinitestatemachine so much. when you're done listening to his mixes, you feel like you know what he is like. it's a very personal sound he creates. i try to do the same thing, i try not to endlessly repeat the same mix ideas and moods. it's pointless!

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vergel - can I get you on call, 24/7, to provide me with reassuring wisdom like that? This is exactly the process I like to think I'm involved in. It requires practice and, now that I've finally got the requisite machines, namely some decks and a mixer, and some of the round black things that go on them, I'm ready to practice my nights away. And that requires some form of structure, so I'm glad to hear someone talk about familiarity as a good thing for improving on.

Unfortunately most of this particular process was done semi-ironically, so I can't say it's helped me along that road to personal expression....unless my true calling is taking the piss.

pipecock - RE: the context thing, if I can indulge myself briefly, I like to think that few people have ever thought of Pan•American as techno. As for Scott Ferguson etc., that's why i appreciate all the mixes on ISM...I never know what to expect, and I'm nearly always pleasantly surprised.

4:33 PM  
Blogger donvoorhies said...

Great achievements/art/(whatever) isn't a result of walking in someone else's footsteps.
Originality will always prevail, IMHO...

But that being said, I do like your mix, teleost - and it's a pretty good snapshot of the scene as it is today, IMO.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great introduction and still loving the mix, too, joe. personally, i don't really care if the music comes from "proven sources" or mimics somebody else. i like to listen to a mix first with kind of a blank mind and then, after listening to it, form an opinion about it. it's somewhat like watching movies, where i usually do not read any reviews before going to the theatre to not spoil the expierience. so, after listening to it, if this is trying to sound like some of your favorite djs, i think you've done so quite well. ;-)

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

searching everywhere now for that Brtschitsch track. the keymix into Burial came from completely left-field, really loved that!

1:44 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's good because I THINK that being a mix with Marcel Dettmann, Marcel Fengler, Donato Dozzy is great because they use to buy viagra.

11:46 AM  
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