mint

Meet the new faces of DJing in this unique video series

In the age of five- and six-figure commercialism, empty and sugary big-stage shows, “DJ” has for some become the butt of a joke, a self-caricature. But DJs are essential to music lovers – now more than ever, with a deep catalog of records past and an astounding volume of new work produced daily, with the DJs shaping tastes and tone in clubs and beyond. Even if you never step into a club, these are the people shaping the way your audience hears. And so it’s refreshing to see the work of Mint Berlin, a booking agency augmented by parties and …

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stemscreator

Here’s how to start making your own Stems for sale or DJing

We’ve heard a lot about Stems, a distribution format providing four separate, DJ-ready parts. And we already go to the point where you could buy a range of Stems music online. What you haven’t been able to do is try making your own Stems, unless you were on one of the early label partners. That changes today, with Native Instruments’ public release of the free Stem Creator Tool. This is officially a beta version, but NI reports the files are created correctly and you should find it stable. This also means whether or not you’re sold on Stems yet, you’ll …

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jazzyjeff

Jazzy Jeff, Shiftee Show Us Turntable as a Musical Instrument

Serato and Native Instruments may have a fierce rivalry when it comes to tools. But at the end of the day, the leading DJ vendors exist for one reason: they’re there to support musicians. And I do mean musicians. Watching new routines from Jazzy Jeff and Shiftee, you really see the turntable emerge as a virtuoso musical instrument. They’re released as promotions for Serato (Jeff) and Native Instruments (Shiftee). And the tools are important: they’re there to allow these players to make use of their skills, to do more than just select tracks like a jukebox. But this really is …

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syd

No Longer Invisible: Images of Women Working with Music Technology

Coinciding with International Womens’ Day, advocacy group and networking platform Female Pressure yesterday launched themselves on Tumblr. In a stream of photos, they’ve been sharing images of female-identified artists engaged in process with music creation technology. (Some randomly-selected images are here; see the rest via the link below.) The images alone are a humbling and inspiring for me, just because I see so many familiar faces – friends and artists that have been personal role models for my work, including in moments of personal struggle as an artist and writer. The idea, say Female Pressure, was partly a response to …

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Careful, drinking this much coffee could start some Internet feuding. I know. Photo from the artist.

deadmau5 Goes Experimental on SoundCloud, and it’s Kind of Awesome

Enjoy it, because this will be about the only time something this weird racks up hundreds of thousands of SoundCloud plays. Yes, it’s Toronto’s Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5, uploading this week to SoundCloud. 432 is an ode to 432 Hz, with horror movie-spooky sounds oozing over the top. “DAT KICK DOE” from earlier this year is a raunchy, thumping distorted loop. (Back story: this sonic horror is how deadmau5 trolls. Well, I’m all for sound as a way to settle feuds.) This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a return to the service after he deleted it …

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synergy

This Movie Clip Sums Up the SFX-Beatport Vision of the Future of Dance Music

Synergy. That’s the direction you can expect from Beatport and SFX Entertainment. And the speech above from the film In Good Company more or less fits. (The plot of that 2004 movie even includes an acquisition by a conglomerate.) Basically, SFX may have solved the problem of how to make money in the streaming business – by making its money elsewhere. Or, it seems that’s the plan. Here’s the problem: music streaming has razor-thin margins versus sales. The artists and labels eek out fairly small bits of change, generally. They can blame the streaming services, but with those services having …

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OSTGUTMIX01-Panorama_Bar_06-Ryan_Elliott

Give Yourself a Night at Panorama Bar for Free, with Ryan Elliott

Mixes, like DJs, are everywhere. But the question of how to stand above the crowd has a simple answer: be better. Be consistent, be intelligent, paint a scene. Give humans a reason to listen to you; make algorithms, like unskilled DJs, weep. And, yes, have a soul. Ryan Elliott’s mix on Ostgut Ton is simply one of the best such mixes I’ve downloaded this year, and earns a place on some hard drive round here, stored permanently in all its lossless WAV glory, an hour and a half and gig and a half. Strip away the Panorama Bar label, and …

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Far From Four on the Floor, Digital Cumbia’s Colorful Syncopations [Video, Playlist]

Emanating from Latin America, cumbia rhythms are fast becoming as international as the ubiquitous sounds of house and techno. And as they spread, they’re bringing shuffling syncopations and vibrant polyrhythms, bright-colored timbres that blend traditional sounds with new electronic forms. When those noises dance out of familiar hardware and software rigs, they’re also a reminder that common tools need not mean homogenized results – not once in the hands of creative musicians. Thump, the VICE property which has been putting out fine-quality and diverse music reporting even despite a name with crowd-grabbing EDM overtones, visits Lima in their latest video. …

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Monday Mix: Miss Sofie (Sofia Kourtesis) Malecon Mix

With sounds from Hannes Rasmus to Cosmin TRG, Sofia hand-picks some of the finest production work of the last couple of years – sharply-focused, beautifully-made gems, all.

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Armin van Buuren DJ Boombox a Pale Imitation of the 80s; A Look Back at Real Ghettoblasters

In the latest megarich DJ – electronics manufacturer collaboration, we find Dutch giant Philips with Armin van Buren. (In fact, you might begin to wonder if these guys are just competing over the Forbes highest-paid DJs list.) This time, what you get is an all-in-one iPad dock with DJ control surface with speaker. That in itself seems not such a terrible idea, but then the problems start. Apart from the usual concerns about obsolete dock devices, the dock slot here places the iPad in an uncomfortable vertical position. There are physical controls for DJing, too, integrated with the (rather excellent) …

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