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I been making me a mix [Jun. 11th, 2007|08:25 am]
Okrzyki, przyjaciel!

I DJ'ed my brother's birthday with Ableton Live for the first time, and since then have been obsessively adding tracks to my master DJ Live set. Once you get going with this, it's hard not to want EVERY TRACK YOU EVER LIKED available to mix into a set.

And for the vinyl purists: I love playing vinyl, but going to Ableton Live isn't a cop out, imho. The only thing it changes is that you don't have to cue and beatmatch. All the same creative challenges apply, and it's still possible to mess up.

Plus you spend hours listening to 1 and 2 bar loops, dropping warp markers. Warping 'Box Energy' just about did my head. You'd think a 303/909 track would be easy -- it's a machine beat right?
But Pierre does 3 tape edits in the track where there's 3 1/2 beats of reversed crash cymbal, which blows Ableton's mind. Then, once you handle that, it appears Pierre's 909 has a slight tempo instability, so you can't depend on any measure having the same length.

And while that sounds extremely wonky, so much of dance music comes down to the milleseconds, and sometimes spending a few hours immersed in the milleseconds gives you a new way of hearing the music ...

Gareth Duprey - Solitary Galaxy Traveler
Chaircrusher - BattFM8
69 - My Machines
Chaircrusher - Windchimes
Claude Von Stroke - Beware of the Bird
Codebase -- Can't Stop
Coldplay - Talk (Francois K Dub)
New Order - Blue Monday
Magazine 60 - Don Quixote
Arthur Russell - Is It All Over My face
Lil Louis - Do U Luv Me
Inner Life - Aint No Mountain High Enough
Hakan Libdo - Televinken
Chez Damier - I Never Knew Love (Made In Detroit Mix)
Americhord - Dan Curtin remix B2
Ikeaboy - Dayne
Stewart Walker - Last Week's Disappearance
Black Devil Disco Club - I Regret the Flower Power
Anthony Shakir - Function Electric
Coolzey/Chaircrusher - Easy Pimp
DJ Pierre - Box Energy
IF (feat Nancy Fortune) - Holograph
Nitzer Ebb - Join In The Chant
Americhord - Mark Broom Mix 2
Octave One/Derrick May -- Water Of Life Mashup

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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2007-06-11 05:17 pm (UTC)
Beat matching, as a skill, is tough to learn, but once you get the trick, it's the least part of DJ'ing. I know some people who are great DJs but completely useless fucks in real life, so I put DJing skills pretty low on my list of things that matter in life.

What makes a DJ worth caring about has less to do with skills and more to do with communication. If you don't communicate, uplift and entertain, it doesn't matter whether you're using a laptop or 1200s.

Back when the Denon dual CD I have still worked properly I used to DJ with it cradling the controller like a baby. People would come up to me and ask what instrument it was.

As for Ableton Live sound quality -- it has improved every release. It's important to always use complex mode for stretching. If you put an exciter on your main outputs and use it sparingly it also helps.
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2007-06-12 12:55 am (UTC)
aw hating on laptops ;-) The worst thing about a laptop imho is they're a %1000 more likely to get nicked than a box of records. they're very stable (in my experience) and convenient (in my experience). It's horses for courses in the end -- i was a computer nerd before I got seriously into music, so I'm always looking for ways to make the computer my instrument.

i was perfectly happy mixing on vince's old dn2500 he gave me until the controller went all peter tong on me. the whole 'find the cue point once, retrigger and adjust' method is better for me than re-cuing vinyl and tweaking over and over.

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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2007-06-12 12:24 pm (UTC)
oh cool. One of my most memorable gigs was with the Denons -- I took a stack of CDRs of my stuff and some of my friend's unreleased stuff, and played in Crazy Jeff and Tabby's falling down garage down on the Cedar River.
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2007-06-12 11:19 pm (UTC)
the icdx looks cool. OTOH I always like Pioneer, Denon, and Tascam over Numark and Gemini. I don't know if it applies to cd players, but I've tried to use too many broke-ass janky Numarks and Geminis.
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[User Picture]From: clobby
2007-06-11 05:29 pm (UTC)
I find it hard to match the beats with Ableton quite often, and I don't know why. Most of it has to do with the fact that cuing is difficult with it. How do you drop the track at the right time AND know that it's timed up right?
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2007-06-11 05:56 pm (UTC)
Ableton does a half-ass computery job at detecting tempo, and has the annoying habit of marking a beat at an audio peak and not the beginning of the beat. You have to warp your tracks -- go through and drop markers to keep tracks in sync. It can be annoying and mind-numbing, but once you get the hang of it, it's not too bad.

As for dropping the track at the right time -- Ableton quantizes track starts and if both the tracks you're playing are properly warped everything works as intended.

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[User Picture]From: clobby
2007-06-11 06:02 pm (UTC)
so do you "pre-mark" the tracks that you use in your sets? and where do you drop the markers--at the beginning of the first complete measure you want to run from?
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2007-06-12 01:04 am (UTC)
yes to all those questions. There's a '1' marker you put on the 'first' downbeat, and then after that you can move around the measure markers so they line up. A computer-made track with a very steady tempo only needs to have the first downbeat set and the tempo locked down. More often, you have to drop warp markers to account for slight tempo variations.

There's a how to DJ tutorial on Ableton.de, that will sort you out.
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[User Picture]From: clobby
2007-06-12 01:09 am (UTC)
very helpful -- thanks!
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