Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hey guys.  Wanted to demonstrate the guitar system I put together.  Watch it here.

The way I see it, this system would work in a very similar manner to the idea of individual players triggering a drum sound, controlled by a meta-DJ controlling timbral parameters.

Here, a guitarist would play his/her guitar, and an external musician would dictate the timbral parameters of the instrument.

I think there are a ton of possibilities that I didn't really tap into in the demonstration.  Would love to hear ideas from people so I can improve upon it over break.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Poster Draft

Hey guys- here is my draft for the poster. Let me know what you think!

Friday, February 13, 2015

DJ Rolando (The Aztec Mystic) - Knights of the Jaguar

DJ Rolando's song "Knights of the Jaguar" was released on UR in 1999. It's something that I keep returning to as inspiration, and so I decided to break it down to understand it. The form itself turned out to be quite simple; the backbone of the track is an 8 bar loop that repeats with minimal variation for the entire six and a half minutes. The various elements (percussion, strings, etc.) come in and out exactly on this frame also, which made writing it out very easy.

Despite this simplicity, I believe that the song has amazing timing and emotional form to it. It begins subtly, building layers to a string solo in the exact middle before dying down a bit and "deconstructing" the beat a bit, and then relentlessly building to a final peak where it forcefully ends.

There is another element to this particular song that we should also keep in mind: it was the focus of a controversy involving UR and Sony/BMG. The gist of it is that Sony commissioned a "cover" of the song almost immediately after it was released on UR. It sounds like a direct, cheesy rip off, and it started a war between pretty much everybody in the dance music scene and Sony. Sony eventually caved and pulled the cover, but it somehow popped up again, released by BMG. UR decided to release remixes of Rolando's song by all their big artists, and "Knights of the Jaguar" became much more well known and successful than the rip off.

It's something to consider if we decide to cover (or not) this, or really any classic track.

Link to a more in-depth article:

And the analysis of the song:

8 Bar “Frame” that repeats throughout goes something like;

[D 2 bars]
[G 2 bars]
[F 2 bars]
[A 2 bars]

The song goes:

8B no drums
8B w kick
8B w full bass synth
8B w added perc
8B same with slight sound changes
8B modified groove
8B added HH
8B groove
8B w clap
8B groove
8B string intro
8B string cont
8B string solo
8B string solo cont
8B string rhythm (last 2 bars kick drops out)
8B groove
8B groove
8B clap drops
8B HH drops
8B all percussion drops (no kick)
8B kick adds back in
8B no kick (except hits)
8B HH back in
8B all percussion adds
8B strings fade in (rhythm)
8B no kick plus alt rhythm strings
8B kick returns
8B alt string rhythm w kick
outro strings

Monday, February 9, 2015

Kraftwerk's current live rig

Interesting video perspective showing what Kraftwerk are actually doing on stage during their current live show. Quneo, iPad, ...


Sunday, February 8, 2015


Brennan and I met on Friday with the Director of Communications and the Manager of Promotion for SMTD. They were really helpful and willing to help us out with getting the word out about our show, but a lot of it is still on us.

At the meeting, we went over a lot of the ideas we had already talked about (videos, posters, facebook event, business cards to drop off places, etc). They suggested that we focus most of our efforts on creating a good social media presence, since they will be able to get us into local event listings and such but that only goes so far these days. The other big thing we talked about is branding and making sure that we but the SMTD logo on pretty much everything we distribute (a note on the logo: we can't break it up, change the color, or warp it in any way)

They said that we should really focus on having all of our publicity media done by the beginning of March, which seems far away now but its coming up on us quick. So here is what needs to happen in the next few weeks:

-Teaser video, perhaps 2 (we could release one early in march and another shortly before the show to keep people talking about it)
-Poster (I think Kevin is on this if i remember correctly)
-Business card-sized informational things that we can leave various places (simplified version of poster)
-Figure out what facebook groups, websites, local radio, whatever we can distribute these on. It would be super helpful if you knew of anything if you could comment here so that we can have a good list in one place.

I know we have a lot of other stuff to worry about, but it'd be pretty lame if we spent all this time making a great show and no one came.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Minneapolis Sound

I've been reflecting on some musical experiences I've had in Detroit and have noticed that the so-called "Minneapolis Sound" (synth-driven funk-rock pioneered by Prince, Morris Day & The Time, Sheila E) seems to have had a lasting impact on Detroit. I hear songs from the Minneapolis Sound era far more frequently in Detroit than I have elsewhere.

Which helps explain why you hear a lot of the Minneapolis Sound in Detroit Techno, especially bass lines and synth leads. It's a very strong connection. These aspects of the Minneapolis Sound should be a strong reference point in our quest for techno bass lines and riffs. Please listen copiously.

I recently discovered this pretty incredible tune "The Oak Tree" by Morris Day:

 Watch them perform it live on Soul Train here:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Electronic Welfare: The Political Legacy of Detroit Techno   

Check out this link for a great article about the historical sociopolitical implications of the music we are making.  There's a ton a really excellent video and music content on this link.

Underground Resistance Mini Doc

"Light Thing" prototyping 2.2.15

Elliot and I worked on "light thing" at the workbench last night - we have a working proof of concept!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Modeselektor Boiler Room

Extremely effective long gestures with filter sweeps and glissandi around 3:00-5:00. Throughout, they use pitch modulation in surprising ways, as well as unconventional kick drum timbres.