It’s amazing that, even today, relatively few artists release stems when they want to encourage remixes. A new remix contest with The Martin Brothers’ new track “Dum,” on the Dirtybird label, goes further, by providing not only individual stems, but a full-blown Ableton Live set, completely with warping parameters and even some plug-in inserts. That should mean just about anyone can pick up the track and start remixing – and, of course, Live is a big hit with the remix scene. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this, but coming from Dancetracks Digital, which has made a big impact with its Live-ready downloads, you can expect a friendly set to get you started.

Of course, this is likely to create some truly awful remixes, since it’s actually so easy to do it’s even easier to do something terrible. (That includes me, having fiddled with the set for a few minutes. I’ll have to get back to it to do something not bad.) On the other hand, by taking some of the drudge work out of the task and making it really easy to do a mediocre mix, I think this could – ironically – make it even more clear when a remix is done right and stands out above the crowd.

Interestingly, roughly the same week Ableton are backing DTD and Martin Bros., Digidesign is pushing its new Transfuser product – an electronica and remix-friendly instrument for Pro Tools – with The Crystal Method and Remix Magazine. They are offering stems, but they’re not pre-loading a Transfuser set as DTD is doing with Ableton Live:

Remixing Pro Tools: The Crystal Method Contest

You know who Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method are. But the cast of characters in the “Dum” contest is worth watching.

Dancetracks Digital has attracted the likes of Danny Tenaglia and Francois K as a kind of boutique alternative to online heavyweight Beatport. The label, Dirtybird, is the creation of DJ Claude VonStroke and has put out his “Who’s Afraid of Detroit?” as well as the debut “Deep Throat.” The latter sold 11,000 copies, which wouldn’t mean anything — except that that’s 21st Century sales of vinyl. The label knows something about how what works on the dance floor, so appropriately enough label founder warns would-be contest participants, “Please don’t bother turning in your big room electro house remix. I want to hear some sweaty ass-jiggling tracks.”

I think I’m going to start admonishing readers to come up with “sweaty nerd, pocket protector-busting I.D.M.”

The track is clever stuff … particularly once the brothers start scat-singing into the mic (hence “Dum.”) But you think you can make it better? That’s the idea. Here’s a sample:

"Dum" Track Excerpt

Possible rewards: exposure (embed-ready players containing submitted remix tracks, and a label looking for new talent), software, music gear, swag, downloads, and even a mixing and mastering session here in NYC.

CDM is working with DTD on the contest, so I hope to provide some insight into the remix scene, Ableton Live, and how labels like Dirtybird tick. Stay tuned.

Dirtybird Remix Contest

And yes, unfortunately, this isn’t Creative Commons-licensed. With the exception of a few, CC-specific labels, even independent labels haven’t yet embraced open licenses. The challenges and opportunities there are a topic for another story.

  • Mr. Tunes

    i'd say the average dance track is pretty easy to cut up and remix if you have the stems, but it's the acapellas that are the hardest to warp i've found. i often do that in cubase using timestretch but i wish i had easier methods.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Yeah, I agree. The vocals on this work nicely, though in fairness, they're primarily rhythmic so not really that different from the drums.

    I've been hearing quite a few samples / remixes lately that audibly mis-use some of the parameters in Live or sound obviously warped, though, so there is *some* finesse required!

    (Disclosure: I'm generally not a remix artist. Then again, working in Live and other samplers often involves sampling your own recordings and music …)

  • http://evolvingmusic.wordpress.com Gavroche

    Examples of bands doing remix contests is becoming more and more common! Artists are starting to figure out that this is great way to engage fans. They key is to make easy for people to remix, and giving the stems out is probably the easiest way. I love that the Abelton session was given up, but what if I don't use abelton? A pro tools session would be cool, where I can see all the settings and plugins. But, this is splitting hairs. This is AWESOME.

  • http://evolvingmusic.wordpress.com Gavroche

    Has anybody used the Transfuser product?

  • http://www.roaldblijleven.net rhowaldt

    well i have finished my remix. did it in Reason. it was quite a pain to prepare everything, as the samples they provide were not just notes but full melodies and stuff. so i put them all in Audacity and cut everything up to size to load in Redrum and NNXT. it's on the website right now, so take a listen. if you do not believe i just created the world's greatest new hip sweaty-ass jiggling track, let me know. because i can't think of a single reason not to like it.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Transfuser is so new, I doubt that that many people have really touched it yet(!)

  • Mr. Tunes

    i try to avoid digidesign stuff on the whole, but transfuser looks cool. i just hope it doesn't have Stylus appeal in all the big recording studios if you catch my drift.

    as for pro tools sessions: the funny part is if you please one DAW then someone from the next will say, "hey where's my fruity loops session of the remix" (i dont think it's even called fruity loops lol)

  • cris

    There are a lot of bands doing remixes contest or something like that. For example, a chilean band called PICNIC KIBUN has uploaded all of their acapellas into their last.fm account and letting everyone remix their tracks, which is something i havent seen, at least in chilean bands. Check them on <a href="http://www.lastfm.es/music/Picnic+Kibun/+albums&quot; rel="nofollow">

    And, no, now Fruity Loops its called FL studio, cause image-line bought the software some years ago, but its still the same old awesome music app :)

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