AUGUST (modyfier – slug)
As far as the mix goes…I have had this idea to make a set that is made only from transitions. That is, you never actually hear a track in full…it is always mixed with something else. I wrote something about this idea not too long ago here…
AUGUST (slug - modyfier)
On your idea for the mix - "make a set that is only transitions". This sounds perfect. The other mixes that myself and Droid have done that are up on wearie.com (Swant1, 2, 3 and Beckett gig) are all about that idea. The music is constantly shifting, mutating and changing. Overlapping many different sources to create something new and transitioning from one track to another very quickly.
This works very well on a tonal level - beat mixing like this can be a bit more difficult. Do you have a draft of what music you want to be in this mix? Do you want the music to flow in a particular order or can I pick and choose from a body of tracks? What kind of music will it be? In my experience with these kind of "only transitions" mixes the more varied the sources the better. I wouldn't put any limits on what you want to include.
AUGUST (modyfier – slug)
This transition mix I hope we can work out. W do you think about beginning this process by my sending you some starter tracks and then maybe you can respond to those…a musical conversation? Throw it all into a melting pot. However, being that you are on the mixing end, I realize your job is infinitely larger than mine and want to give you enough room to move in what you think will or won't work. I'll try to have an initial package to send your way soon.
OCTOBER (modyfier – slug)
Here is round 1 of a tracklist. My ideas about it have changed since I first began thinking about it. Mostly, I am a proponent of making things for yourself…making something that interests you and is also unaware of an audience during the generative process.
However, this can be really hard. I find mostly because I don't always know what I like. When I find myself there I often vacillate between experience and awareness (doing vs. seeing). That’s when uncertainty sets in and it can quickly stain whatever it is I am making. I have to wrestle the interest back into it. I don't always win. But what surfaces, regardless, is the sharpening of an aesthetic. Reflexively knowing what I like and what I don't.
A note on the song selection: every 1-3 weeks for the past year and a half, I have been posting tracks that are my current listening habits. I simply went back through each of these tidy little folders and dumped my favorites into a new one. Then came the honing process. There is an interesting relationship between ‘minimalism’ and ‘reductionism’. Maybe the difference is in the actual making…where minimal is perhaps about creating through a simple addition and reduction is creating through subtraction. While the end products of the two can become synonymous, they do not always have to be. It depends on a critical stopping point. Knowing that to add anything more would drown it in clutter or that to take anything more away would leave it hollow and dull.
As far as approach to the making of this particular mix, here are some thoughts:
You could do the obvious thing and string these songs together continuously into a mix. Wash your hands and be done.
We could come up with some rules. As an example, I think in the beginning of a process, setting up parameters gives room to move, test and challenge. Do you know the drawings of Sol Lewitt? In one project he gave guidelines to other people actually doing the drawings like: Straight lines of random length and direction, each drawn from the end of a previous line. they may cross. I am super interested in this kind of process and I wonder if it might almost be perfect for the kind of relationship you and I are to have. I think it could be really functional and good to have a dialogue about what these rules might be, and see how they get fed into the mixing. Maybe this is too abstract? Maybe we don't have the time to do it? You tell me. Questions?
OCTOBER (slug – modyfier)
My first thoughts on your process suggestions (1 and 2) are this:
Doing a straight mix - lets not. I'd really like to play with the idea of what a mix is (i.e it's usually a sequence of tracks picked by someone and mixed in order to create one seemless flowing track.) I'd like to really muddy the boundaries of that concept.
Rules - I like the sound of that. I t could work but again I think we need to look at how we will "mix" these tracks.
Track selection - I want you to select all the tracks (although I do like the idea of a musical conversation that you brought up in earlier emails. I don't think it will work here). The 35 or so you sent is a great start. I may need more. I love that you have picked them from lists of what you have been listening to for the last year and a half. It’s like a document of your listening habits for that time.
Mix sequence - I think the mix should follow a sequence / order that tracks come in - again the list you sent seems good. I've quickly listened to the sequence of tracks and they already seem to flow.
How I use the tracks / music - This is where I think I really want to break from the norm. My initial idea is to look at every track and select sequences out of each track that i like - intro's , drum loops, breakdowns, etc. and to cut these into loops so I have approx 4 or 5 swatches of sound from each track. I’ll use these groups of swatches in sequence (i.e. the tracklist you supplied). I'll have them constantly shifting to the next group.
Now i'm not going to be able to do this on cdj's or decks - but I've recently built a patch in MAX (http://www.cycling74.com/products/maxmsp ) for another project (http://www.deafireland.com/index_shwan.htm ) that could work for this mix. Basically it takes 10 sound sources and via an array of routing etc. I can loop any source at different speeds, backwards or forwards, loop smaller sections and push them through various effects, delays and tape delay's modulation.
What we hopefully will end up with is your musical tastes and listen habits re-imaged (mixed) by my musical tastes and listening habits.
OCTOBER (modyfier - slug)
As far as how we look at mixing these tracks…I see that as part of the rules. What I mean by this is that they become the characters. Like, how does a hammer talk to a nail? It's not the hammer or the nail’s characteristics that I want to hear described. What I am curious about is what the moment is like when the two meet. What is in that interaction? What is the sound that is made? What is the movement? It's all these descriptions of actions that define the nouns.
Given this scenario, can we apply that approach to the mixing? Not focus on track "a" or track "b" so much, but what happens when they begin to get mixed and intertwined. What parts of the music (be it rhythm or sound or...) have the most interesting dialogues once they start talking and how do we extract those moments to make this mix...?
If you need more tracks, don't worry. I've got another 35 or another 35 or another 35 for you to choose from if you want more.
And ok: let's make this mix in that I am the selector and you are the mixer. The list that I sent in my last email is the order that I was feeling with those tracks...
In regards to ‘breaking from the norm’ in the way you use the tracks: I think your ideas fit perfectly with what I’ve been describing. I love this idea and I like the word 'swatch' to describe it...
OCTOBER (slug – modyfier)
I've have gotten some work done on the mix - i've attached a test mp3. This is what I have in mind for the mix. There are little or no beats in this first test but I do plan to incorporate them in later on. The test mp3 is elements from the first 2 tracks on the tracklist "mixed" in my max patch.
Anyway have a listen and tell me what you think.
OCTOBER (modyfier – slug)
My first impressions of the test track:
Substance is made of atmosphere...ethereal sounds. I really like it. I would also really like if some moments get sequenced in that grab with a meaty claw. Something that all those misty particles begin to condense and build a cloud around. Something that builds character...
I like that the elements that define the original tracks have been blurred...that you wouldn't pick them out right away.
What do you think about voices?
OCTOBER (slug – modyfier)
I have a plan to take percussive elements from some tracks and to chop and mix them and then over lay on top of the clouds to hopefully give the mist direction. I really wanted to blur the original elements - more of a remix than a mix. There are actually voices in the test - they are just distorted. I'm a little against using too many clear voices as they tend to colour the music with a certain mood. I like it more left up to the listener to put their own mood on the music.
DECEMBER (slug – modyfier)
I don't think we need to talk about the music in the right up - just the ideas behind it. Something along the lines of taking your listening habits over a period of time and mixing them to suit me and my tastes using 33 tracks (the last one wasn't used and one was missing - details below). Tracks can, in a way represent a collection of music and each section / loop of track I used (a varying amount from each track - 6 loops for one track being the most - and one loop for one track being the least) represents a record. Each one mixed after another - turning this music from your taste into mine.
DECEMBER (modyfier – slug)
The thing that has been most exciting for me is to see how the interpretation plays out...how you reconfigured the tracks to obliterate my pre-conceived notions of what this mix was going to sound like. That new perspective means so much to me. I also like the way the concept of an "allegory" frames the sounds. You have distorted the way I knew this music in a familiar way. Now I can catch just hints of associative moments in the way you have developed the mix. I've had fun listening and randomly dropping into it at different intervals to try to find where I am. I have to admit, I love the getting lost part of it and wandering around until I hear something that guides me back with an identifier to the tracklist…perhaps a certain loop I might catch...hooked.