Another good year for mixes. I enjoyed these in particular:
The Bunker Podcast: Mike Huckaby / DJ Jus-Ed
Oneman : Fall for Autumn Mix
RA Podcast: RA.168 Peter Van Hoesen
Jonny5 - Cool Position
Bleep43: Orphan Live
Some interesting musings from the Scotsman: http://www.ewanpearson.com/enthusiasm/
The number of online DJ sets currently doing the rounds is staggering. Not so long ago, one had to rely on Pete Tong endorsed BBC Essential Mixes and commercially released mixtapes to get one's DJ mix prescription. These days, the web is literally drowning under new mixes - fantastic for the consumer but equally overwhelming as well. I hope this (near) monthly column can shed some light on how we should be filling our bulging hard drives.
Resident Advisor have been in the podcast game longer than most and they continue to churn out thoughtfully curated mixes from a decent cross-section of DJ's (although I'd like to see a little more diversity away from house and techno). Sandwell District's recent entry in the series is a predictably tight, intense affair but there's enough funk in its backbone to keep things interesting. The arrival of Acid Eiffel a third of the way through is a bit of a spine tingler - it's an old Laurent Garnier tune apparently.
If the dance music blogs and forums have one pet subject, it's surely the never-ending vinyl vs. digital debate. Ricardo Villalobos was banging on about the sound quality limitations of Ableton over at RA a few weeks ago (from a production perspective admittedly) and Donnacha Costello, fresh from his Labyrinth travails in Japan, wrote a nice piece on the relationship between artist and DJ for his new Bodytonic column. Inspired by Daniel Bell's vinyl-only set at the festival, he was impressed at the way Bell "allowed each record to do its own thing before introducing the next with subtlety". He compared Bell's artistry to a new breed of DJ's who are so busy chopping, looping and combining etc. that the original record gets buried in the maelstrom.
The Sandwell mix inspired some similar chatter over at mnml ssgs: the consensus being that Ableton was responsible for killing the tension in DJ mixes. It's hard to say - I've heard tedious mixes using both formats. My (misguided?) perception is that digital mixes can be rather lifeless affairs - streamlined to within an inch of their life. And that's a charge one could never level at a Cassy set. I enjoyed this comment in particular:
"I am just a sucker for the sound of hats firing into the mix and spitting all over the old song, tight mixes alive with sound of the DJ's movements and corrections, and that tense feeling that it could all fall apart at any moment."
On a personal note, I'd hate to see vinyl disappear completely, only because trawling for new booty in 3-dimensional record shops is one of life’s small pleasures. The small communities that record shops breed should also not be underestimated. Perhaps vinyl will return when the environmental costs of flying are so much to bear that it is no longer practical for DJ's to fly the lengths of the world with only a laptop and a box of johnny's.
London continues to breed dubtep / funky / UK garage mutations at a furious rate. I can't say that I'm entirely convinced by the sounds of the UK funky but I will be adding Marcus Nasty’s new Rinse FM mix cd to my Christmas list for sure (thanks Mum and Dad). Sub FM resident Skipple provided the Hot Flush podcast with a sprightly 40 minute mix that captured some of these latest sounds quite nicely. And any set that includes Scott Garcia's eternally bouncy "It's a London thing" gets my vote.
This piece made me want to re-visit some of my old DP records. I remember going ape shit when I first heard 'Ventura' on the radio (via John Peel I think). What a record.
Here is a link to their 1997 Essential Mix where they mix up bunch of classic Chicago house records (intermingled with their own stuff) to great effect.
From treehugger: "The Prix Pictet is the new global photography prize that focuses on sustainability. Sponsored by Pictet & Cie, a Swiss bank, and in its second year, this year's theme is the earth. Last year it was water.
A shortlist was announced in July and the winner is Nadav Kander, an Israeli photographer living in London. He beat out the heavy hitters on the list such as Andreas Gursky and the Canadian Edward Burtynsky. His theme and obsession is the Yangtze River, 4,100 miles long, where "more people live along its banks than live in the USA, one in every eighteen people on the planet."
Kander is an interesting and controversial choice because he is best known for his commercial work for the likes of Nike, Levi's, and Mercedes. This work is very cool and minimalistic but is still evocative and moving.
He spent time in China and became fascinated with the Yangtze River. He says that it is "embedded in the consciousness of the Chinese, even for those who live thousands of miles from the river. It plays a significant role in both the spiritual and physical life of the people."
He is using the river as a metaphor for change in China since it is the main artery that flows across the country. Over the past decade more than 3 million people have been displaced along a 600 km. stretch of the river for the controversial Three Gorges dam work. This has had an enormous ecological impact on the river. But this is a country that is moving forward at great speed which has caused great social and environmental changes."
Also on the shortlist was a selection of photographs of Mt. Fuji, Japan by Chris Steele-Perkins. It's refreshing to see Mt. Fuji in the context of its surrounding area e.g. ugly gas stations, golf driving ranges, theme parks and military testing grounds.
This is a great blog. Full of genuinely funny examples of street art, improv, pisstake mashups... it's amazing when you look around at the urban landscape and see the way people are compelled to leave their mark, make a statement, edit their environment.