Today I got an email inviting me to Beatport's new streaming service. Sign me up! I love to stream electronic music!

(By the way, the 'old' Beatport - the mp3 shop - is now known as Beatport Pro.)

Overall, it's pretty great. I'll be using this a lot when I want to listen to curated lists of current, popular dance music. Beatport has a pretty enviable catalogue. Sadly, Cartoon Beats is not on there - yet! - in the meantime here's some stuff involving Haszari and check out our buddies at Newclear Music and Muzikozi.

This experience is a huge improvement on crate-digging via short mp3 snippets!

Beatport Screenshot

Good Things

There are lots of curated playlists for genres, big sellers, new releases, etc. I listened to Deep House Essentials and then Sounds of the Underground which both were great as working background music, and had the occasional gem too. Genre-wise they were actually pretty similar (broadly deep & somewhat techy house), which I found curious.

I like the look and design of the site - it's clean and uncluttered. There's reasonably deep info there too: for example, heart/play counts, and metadata such as key and BPM. When you're looking at a track or release, you get recommendations for other tunes.

As a streaming music player it's pretty good and flexible - you can skip around in songs (by visiting the page for the track), as well as hit next when something horrible comes on. The sound quality seemed pretty fine too (note I am not any kind of audiophile!).

Wish List

While it's a good simple service, there are some things that would make it amazing (in my opinion).

  1. A radio / discover mode. This is the biggest gap for me. I'd like to tell it to keep playing, and have it play stuff based on its related/recommendations data. I don't care if the algorithm's dumb, I just want it to keep playing. (Of course they can improve the algorithm over time!)
  2. Play queue management e.g. "add to up next". It's really basic right now - when you hit play on a list or a track, it wipes out whatever is queued. I'd like to add lots of things from lots of places to my playlist, and then play that on shuffle (and then play related stuff when it runs out).
  3. Shuffle/random playback. Surely this is essential!
  4. Play history.

It'll be interesting to see how the service develops, and how it impacts on the other players in the market (e.g. Spotify, iTunes Radio, Red Bull Music Academy Radio, etc). Nice pivot, Beatport.

I love simple-sounding electronic music: it sounds like it has only three parts & someone's elegantly noodling around the groove.

As you might know from other posts, I find most music-making software annoyingly complicated. I want a user interface that facilitates sketching out little patterns and noodling around with them, yet still allows you to stand up, walk around, dance, and generally not get lost in the software (or in the details of your track).

Auxy is just that. It's a simple grid of patterns, with some really nice instruments & drum kits. The sounds are just what I like to play with - light, expressive, and very electronic.

You can trigger/stop the patterns in the grid like you might in Seq24 (or Ableton Live !). You get two parameters to tweak on each instrument - e.g. a filter cutoff and a delay. Enough to have fun.

The app looks really great too - cute and tidy but really minimalist, so it fades into the background and lets you focus on the music.

I made a little techy jam in about half an hour and this really convinced me how great Auxy is. This is how electronic music should work.

And it's free!

Now .. someone make a desktop version, with automation loops, MIDI out, MIDI sync, and nudge ... :)

UPDATE! Pro Midi ($US10) covers a lot of my wishlist above.

I first heard about Baobinga when hunting around Sydney for records in about 2004. Everywhere I went there was this record emblazoned with a clearly Metallica-inspired logo. Eventually I must have picked it up and loved it.

What's not to like? Superb breakbeat sample, lots of sharp filter motion, a horrible dirty reggae/jungle bassline, and prominent sirens - I still get chills listening to the initial drop. Baobinga put out lots of other good stuff, but this is the highlight for me.

This is one of those tracks where I immediately want to hunt down more like this, and 10 years later it's still unique. Let me know if you find something approaching the sound of this!

Also let me know if you know what bashment is.

Update: he's now going by the alias Sam Binga.

Deotoise by Haszari on Mixcloud

Tracklist

  1. Saytek - 20 Years
  2. The Writer's Block - Don't Look Any Further
  3. LO'99 & Marshall F - Take Me Back (LO'99 VIP)
  4. Disclosure - Fool For You (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs remix)
  5. Audiojack - Indigo
  6. Djuma Soundsystem & Shades of Gray - Madness (Hallo Halo remix)
  7. Double Agent - Bounce & Shake
  8. Caldera - Morning Traveller
  9. Hannah Wants - I Refuse
  10. Siles & Aboga - Second Assault
  11. Nikolozi - Counter (Juan Tellez remix)
  12. Helena Hauff - Severe Slash
  13. Toddla T & Danny Weed & Jammer - I Don't Wanna Hear That (Mella Dee remix)

Recently the first Vogel Street Party happened in the warehouse precinct (on the street where I work). The reason for the party was to celebrate the local community making things happen & the general rejuvenation of the area.

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It was incredible!

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From 3pm to 10pm on Saturday the 18th of Oct (2014):

  • the street was closed to traffic
  • street food vendors sold delicious wares
  • a huge range of activities for young and old were held
  • a HUGE LED wall screen showed animation, video and digital art
  • musicians performed over the afternoon
  • there was an upcycled street-fashion show
  • DJs played into the evening

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Also the party coincided with the Dunedin Street Art Festival. Local and international artists transformed walls around the area into vibrant pieces of art.

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A strong group of volunteers made this happen. I got myself involved from day one and put a lot of energy into the website, booking the DJs, as well as curating & producing the digital screen content.

I also had the privilege of performing - DJing while triggering my animations on the big screen.

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A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the event, and the sponsors who backed us! I can't wait for the next one.

One of the many neat little touches in Figure (a fun music app/toy for iPhone/iPad/iOS) is how it names documents.

Instead of using the typical "Untitled 1" (or similar) approach, it generates a nonsense word. I like this because you're not forced to think up a name but you still still get a "meaningful" name/handle to use to refer to your lil song doodle thing. Examples: Dukadygo, Hudolyka, Tejugy.

I really liked this idea, and wanted to use it in SuperCollider, so I wrote a little String extension to generate pseudowords.

+ String {
  // Generate a random "word" between 2-5 syllables.
  * randomWord { | minSyllables=2, maxSyllables=5 |
    var
    consonants = "bcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyz",
    vowels = [
      'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u'
    ],
    longvowels = [
      'ee', 'oo'
    ],
    dipthongs = [
      'ae', 'ai', 'ao', 'au',
      'ea', 'ei', 'eo', 'eu',
      'ia', 'ie', 'io', 'iu',
      'oa', 'oe', 'oi', 'ou'
    ],
    word = Array.fill(rrand(minSyllables, maxSyllables).round, {
      var syllableMode = 20.rand;
      case
      // 10% chance of a diphthong vowel
      {syllableMode >= 18} {consonants.choose ++ dipthongs.choose}
      // 10% chance of a long vowel
      {syllableMode >= 16} {consonants.choose ++ longvowels.choose}
      // 5% chance of no vowel!
      {syllableMode == 6} {consonants.choose}
      // otherwise "typical" syllable (75% chance)
      {syllableMode >= 0} {consonants.choose ++ vowels.choose}
      ;
    }).flatten.join;
    ^word
  }
}

I'll be using this in SuperCollider for naming little midi patterns, song sections etc, as opposed to beat, bass1, bridgechords etc.

Other potential applications of this concept:

  • blog post 'slug' - the url key for a post (coming soon to drongo)
  • names of characters, technologies, plants or animals in creative writing
  • name for your new company/brand.

I made a little animation in html5 canvas of circles that grow. It's pretty slow/unoptimised at the moment. I used the oCanvas library; it seems pretty handy.

Click mv to move a random circle to a random location. Click tgl to stop/start the growth. Click here for a full-browser-window version.

Here's a playlist of circle related songs.

The Nomad is running a remix contest for his forthcoming album 7.

It seems there's nothing that gets me fired up quite like a remix comp. I heard about this on Saturday afternoon, grabbed the stems, and finished the mix that evening. Pretty happy with that given that I've not completed a track/remix in about a year!

The original is a hip-hop track featuring UK artist Lotek. I've bumped it up a bit (0.3), resulting in a dark bass-house slash vocal-breakbeat thumper. Best thing about this: the vocal. Huge fun layering a nice beat under that flow.

Anyway, have a listen to the track and let me know what you think. Also check out all the other remixes in the soundcloud group.

There are now at least two iOS apps that allow you to DJ using Spotify - Pacemaker and djay.

Spotify logo

I find this really intriguing; I really like the idea of having such a huge catalogue to draw from. I also really like the idea of not having to manage/buy/own all the music I DJ with; being able to focus solely on selection, playlisting, curation, could be really liberating.

Note that it appears you need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber for this to work.

On the other hand, this could open the floodgates to "do you have youtube on there" requesters too ..

This latest genre-bending release features originals from Haszari and SoNic Smith + remixes from nsu.

delicious, healthy fruit

Blood Orange re-presents an iconic film theme (and royal funeral march) as an epic indie electro rock anthem. SoNic brings a unique slice of dark dubstep to the party, and nsu's atmospheric breakbreat-step interpretation takes the tune to another level.

Equally monumental RE: Memory comes from a similar place - glitch beats and choral samples in an archaic, cavernous hall. nsu's remix again whips these elements into unsurpassed breakbeat, while Haszari's minimal tech-house treatment provides groove and disquiet in equal measure.

OUT NOW on Spotify, iTunes, Juno Download and Amazon.

I finally got Traktor to sync with something else - Reaper - using MIDI Clock (running on Mac OS X, on the same machine). Here's how I did it..

  • Start Traktor.
  • Start Reaper.
  • Open Reaper Preferences, select Devices > MIDI Devices.
  • Double click "Traktor Virtual Input" and select "use this device" and "send midi clock to this device".
  • In Traktor, open the sync panel thing up the top by clicking the metronome.
  • Click "EXT" button - this tells traktor to listen for MIDI Clock.

Now get a track (with an accurate grid!) loaded into a Traktor deck. In Reaper, set up something locked to the Reaper beat grid - for example, an audio or midi loop.

Press play in Reaper so your loop plays forever. In Traktor, the sync panel should show a tempo similar to the tempo in Reaper. You'll notice that it wavers about a bit. Press play on your gridded track and click Sync.

The Traktor deck should be roughly in sync with Reaper! (In fact, it is loose enough that it sounds a bit like a real DJ is nudging it.)

Questions:

  • If we send the MIDI over a network or MIDI connection to a different machine, will this sync well enough to bother with?
  • Can we sync two copies of Traktor (on different machines) this way?

If you have problems (or corrections), comment below so we can determine what I really did to make this work.