I really enjoyed mixing this one – it’s pretty much an amalgamation of tracks I have found and enjoyed the most recently. It does not try to be super smooth or consistent: instead, it strives for being fun to listen to and exploratory. And I enjoyed the slower tempo, too.
Today, I had the opportunity to play at this awesome venue in San Francisco. Thanks to everybody who made this possible! (You know who you are.)
I really wanted to record the set, but of course I screwed up with the handheld recorder that I carry, so the recording is distorted. I’m still putting it here as a piece of evidence, but don’t bother downloading if you like your ears at all.
I’m developing an Android application that I call DJ’s Mate. It’s still experimental, and ugly, and may never be really finished. But I thought I’d share it with you.
How does DJ’s Mate work?
Currently, it has a database of the tracks I like to play (100s of them). For all those, it knows their key (Camelot Wheel notation as seen in Mixed in Key) and for some of them it knows their DJ notation.
Imagine I play back-to-back with someone. I know that the track my fellow DJ is playing is in A-Flat Minor (1A). I produce my Nexus One and start up this app.
(I know, it’s ugly.) It currently shows all my favourite tracks. But I want to filter just the tracks that are harmonically compatible with 1A (that is: 1A, 1B, 12A and 2A).
I click on the top button and see this even uglier layout:
I pick 1A and come back to see just the tracks I need:
(Click for larger.)
For every track, I see the usual metadata (Artist, Name, Remix) and Camelot Wheel notation. I also see the name of the CD this track is on (“Pack 042”). For some of them I also see the DJ notation, which helps me to plan ahead when mixing. (More on DJ notation on the official page: http://www.djnotation.org.)
Why I develop DJ’s Mate?
If today’s DJs have any disadvantage in comparison with the vinyl DJs of the past, it’s probably the sheer abundance of tracks. In the 90’s, DJs came to a party carrying a case of about 50 vinyls. Today, the number of tracks available to a DJ at any given gig counts in hundreds.
It’s a real pain to select the next track to play in these conditions. I believe that good DJing is mainly about great track selection, so I though I’d fix that.
Does it work?
It does. Listen to this mix: I mixed it last hour with the use of DJ’s Mate. I didn’t prepare the tracklist beforehand.
The future of DJ’s Mate
This is just the beginning, of course. The app will be able to sort the tracks better. It will be able to automatically generate tracklist of played tracks. It will show a handy screens with information on the two tracks that you want to mix, deriving additional useful information from DJ notation. It will have a webapp part where it will be possible to upload and change the database of tracks (I currently upload my database via an android resource – it’s inherent in the app itself).
How can you help
If you are interested in testing the app and if you own an Android (2.1+) device, just let me know. If not, but you still like the idea, please share.
[UPDATE] I got a very interesting question from Phil Morse (of DJ TechTools):
My only question would be how necessary this is. You can have key information display in your DJ software, and could have the notation in the comments ID3 tag. That’s what I do, anyway, more of less.
Ok, here are my answers:
Key info is not enough. You need filtering when you have 300 *favorite* tracks. In practice, you don’t have time to look through all of them all of the time.
A lot of djs (I’d say vast majority) still use CDJs (because it’s still the standard at most clubs and still most reliable). And frankly, for the audience it’s more enjoyable to watch.
Many (incl. me) use Audio CDs because again, it’s reliable and no club fails to have at least a CDJ-100, while many still don’t have CDJ players with mp3 technology.
Even if you use Traktor or similar:
Having DJ Mate on a separate device allows for much better multitasking: you tweak a knob and move the crossfade while already looking up the track to play next. That’s essential for me.
Swiping through tracks on a device like Android is faster and feels much more natural than scrolling on the laptop. The form factor of an Android device is just better for this stuff and DJ Mate is designed from grounds up for searching tracks.
When playing back-to-back, you can’t use Traktor’s search when the other guy is playing.
I’ll try to keep this post updated with other discussions.
Today was a very productive national holiday here in the Czech Republic. I finished this little tech-house track that I built upon this spoken word by Daniel Donahoo. It’s CC-licensed: Attribution Non-Comercial (that means you can use it and remix it freely as long as you don’t make money on it). It’s called What Others Receive.
Hey all, long time no see! Sorry for not releasing anything since August. I’ve been very busy and it seems I’ll stay that way till at least the end of year 2010.
Anyways, I just found two tracks I almost forgot existed. The first one is my very maximalistic remix of the Pappa, Bonnici & Phil K track Blending With The Ether [original’s beatport link]. Please note that I don’t hold the copyright to the samples, so this is for personal use only.
The other track is not really a track yet, just a demo of a little piece I was working on a few weeks back. Let me know if you like where it’s heading.
This Saturday, I played a Dave Seaman-esque set at Oscillator. You may ask why the hell do I play another DJ’s music – well it’s because I love Dave Seaman’s mixes & tracks, but unfortunately I can’t afford to have him come to Prague. :)
So I compiled what I think is the best of his production, plus the tracks I love on his Masters Series and Audio Therapy mixes.
And because I’m pretty sure Dave Seaman isn’t going to release a Dave Seaman tribute set like this one, I actually think it isn’t that redundant, either.
If you’re mixing harmonically, you’ll often find yourself on the other side of the Camelot Wheel than you’d like to be. If you’re like me, your mixes tend to gravitate around E Minor (9A) and A Minor (8A). That’s because those 2 scales are used by a big portion of club hits out there.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t great tracks E-Flat Minor (2A), for example. Quite the contrary. The problem is that they’re too far away. It would just take too much time to get there — so you stick with the usual suspects.
Here’s something you can do about it: make the transition in one single track. The problem is 99.99% tracks start end end in the same key. That’s why you need to make the track yourself.
Here’s what I made today. It’s a little progressive house DJ tool called Space Hulk. It’s not mindblowing, but it’ll get you from point A (9A) to point B (3A).
[If you can’t see the player above, go here, listen and download.]
Just a quickie: last night was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, thanks everyone for coming and for dancing like crazy till 3.30am! Thanks DJ Random for playing 3 great progressive house sets. Thanks Chapeau Rouge for making this possible!
In 2006 in Japan, I recorded a promo mix from tracks I had been playing then. It was made on an Ableton Live setup – so it was full of added samples and the 73min mix consisted of as many as 19 tracks (that’s 3:45 per track).
I didn’t know about harmonic mixing then. I hadn’t yet devised DJ notation. But by careful track pre-selection, I was able to come up with some pretty neat transitions and a really enjoyable set.
The day before yesterday, I found the master CD in my old stuff. Unfortunately, it’s taken some damage since 4 years ago and I wasn’t able to find the original recording anywhere on my harddrives. Also, it seems I’ve lost the tracklist, and some of the tracks are now totally strange to me.
But anyways, here it is: Monster. One of my earliest full-CD mixes. Made in Japan.
AFK – Dreamcache (Formulate Rmx) (Philip Age Edit)
Hell – Je Regrette Everything (Superpitcher Mix)
Hybrid – I’m Still Awake (Grayarea Mix)
Perfect Stranger – What’s The Lineup
Antix – Return of the Master (Antix Remix)
James Holden – Break in the Clouds
Afroboogie – Rock the House
Sander Kleinenberg – The Fruit (Buick Project Mix)
Hybrid – Dreaming Your Dreams
HD69 – Smagged Out
Hybrid – Altitude
Moogwai – The Nord Song
Oforia – Into Another Universe
Son Kite – Catch
Reefer Decree – Gone For Good
The intro track (#1) is a sample taken from Monster (モンスター), the anime series by NTV. I’m not a big anime fan but I really recommend this one. The other samples throughout the set are taken from all over the place.