Thursday, December 25, 2008

Compiling with Myself

And lo! the Three Wise Men in my head ascended Mount Reason and said, "come, grab some me-time on the chosen one's day and talk about the holy mixtape". So I did, because I can't watch the telly and stuff my face ALL day. the latest end-of-year compilation (didn't know this was an annual series!) is almost done, and ready for distribution in its clear plastic sleeve and diligent listings. The willing who will want to hear it remain few. How many shall i 'press up'? Five, six or seven?

With the attic set-up now down to one deck actual mixing was scarce, making this less of a compiling exercise (the time-honoured's DJ 'journey') and more one very time-consuming exercise in cut-up, splicing bits from here and there, waiting for the programme to do the pasting of the latest wedge of soundwaves. The 'creativity' comes not in any live performance but in the idea-gathering, the preparation, what you think works well as consonant sources and what surprises and excites as opposites come together to make new combinations. Indeed, the best actual mixing came from secondary edits covering up initial errors as the new set-up has created a gap of a couple of yards from the deck to the computer.

The generic phased approach is still there, along with the faith in 'beats' with grime, rap and dubstep (Kano ft Skepta, MF Doom and Digital Mystikz, Martyn and Zomby) at the start and some jungle/hardcore nearer the end; as well as electronic/digital house and techno (Motor, Glass Candy). Note also the clumsy conflation of Brazilian and Arabesque mores in a middle section that starts off light and turns 'moody/'edgy'/'dark'.

Also present are the comeback tunes, those that burned bright for whatever reason years ago that flicker back, re-awakening the senses. Peshay's Vocal Tune is the generic bridge throughout. My introduction to this was when Photek was guesting on Gilles Peterson's shows in 95 or 96 and played some of the lighter tunes of the emerged jungle-breakbeat sound, the tunes that are often dismissed now as they're too noodly, too 'drum and bass' not jungle, but for me had some of the key tunes of the era. Hendrix Experience's Fire, however, is pure tribute to Mitch Mitchell's passing.

As well as a lack of emphasis on the new - with new meaning the last year or so - the main theme is that i wanted to sound it like a radioshow, with the jingles and comic passages but minus the chat of previous efforts. Being a radio jock is of course another dream, another indulgence while i live the double life as a corporate editor. Anyway, the ego was well served in the making (as and the frustration of the festive sofa slump worked through in this reviewing), and let's hope the joy of giving will be too.
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