Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Another mix CD was completed the other week. Yes, I thought in the world where whole sites are dedicated to top-dollar streams from the latest hot DJs that I’d do one myself, blog about it then not put it online. About 28 vinyl and digital tracks compressed into 79 minutes and 45 seconds (the iTune cut-off point for burning) and mixed in a sound editing programme, not at all with dex and cd/digital and a live mixer. A project that took about a month on and (very much) off. It represents a little of where my head is now in modern music (there are producers and acts du jour to drop) and rather more maps the riffs –old, new and inbetween - that have been running around my head for the last few months, little batches of tunes that I thought might work well together. After the intensity of all that listening, doubtless a few of these will wither away to my subconscious, aka the iTunes general library.

What’s interesting and has mileage in terms of the pro-am debate that frequently pops up is the imperative to get it done as properly as possible even if it is for a tiny coterie – not having state-of-the-art gear is not seen as a barrier as many of us have the means to make a decent go at these labours of love. Not talking here so much about the comic conceits or unexpected juxtapositions but the general technical approach. This starts at preparation – I probably started off with 40-50 or so tracks and a bewildering number of potential combinations before having to chisel that down to a working number with a working narrative. It then continues through mixing; if I am doing it all in a programme then there are no excuses for a duff mix and I went back on segues several times to get them ‘right’ (there are even instances of ‘beat’ mixing; something I always cocked up on dex); evaluation when near completion (a few previously precious ‘must-use’ tunes were casualties as they didn’t fit in the grander scheme); and the final realisation of concept, including physical and digital cover artwork and tracklisting. I now need to use some better EQing software, rather than guessing what levels are acceptable.

Ultimately though, I can only dream that friends’ reaction is both positive but full of scrutiny (bewilderment can be expected from those not familiar with my online entity) and you realise that you’re mostly, only trying to prove something to yourself. We are our best judge. Being amateurish in effect, sometimes wilfully so, has been an issue around all the ‘product’ I have been involved with (from personal vanity projects via fanzines to comedy and on, this blog too), but learning and applying better standards should happen the more stuff you do. That’s right, even if it is a little old mix CD. What’s interesting too is how this arc of perfectionism may well outstretch any creative impulse I have and be left unfulfilled, an oasis in a soon-come forty-something creative sahara?

The Ummah – Put it Down
Lyn Collins - Think About Break (Djekyll edit)
L-VIS 1990- United Groove
Brotherz in Law - U.N.D.E.R.G.R.O.U.N.D
Nosaj Thing Coat of Arms
Cooly G – Love Dub
Ben Klock - Goldrush
Lusine - Two Dots
Efdemin - Acid Bells (Martyns Bittersweet Mix)
Foals - Olympic Airways
Doves - Compulsion
Sounds Of JHS 126 Brooklyn - Chill Pill (Underwater Mix)
The Funky Lowlives - Time Traveller Man (Freeform Five Breathapella)
Welcoming Nadja
Nadja - Only Shallow
The Open Mind - Magic Potion
Crocodiles – Summer of Hate
Space suite:
Emperor Machine – Introduction to Space (Vol 1)
Belinda Moore - Moon Child
Silver Apples – I Don’t Care What People Say
Jungle Fly
Semitic Djekyll - Passez les Jeux!
Grauzone – Film 2
Alexander Robotnick - The Dark Side Of The Spoon (Original Mix)
Green Velvet - Cuz of U
Tanki Tanki! – Tanki Tanki!
Floating Points - K&G Beat

available via email muzzafrabad at gmail dot com

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