Tuesday, May 16, 2006

a quick DJ set

Heres a quick set of songs mixed together that are all without exception junk I dug out of thrift stores that ended up being a huge influence on me. The focus of this particular set is electrofunk/disco/classic hip hop and it runs the gamut from less popular electro to generic pop disco cannon fodder. Some of it was too goofy to leave out, some of it was too good. Most of it is treading that line right inbetween the two.Because the releases span about a 20 year period of musical history(from 1977 to 1984) its pretty hard to effectively master or mix these tracks. Earlier recordings lack the bass to the ones from the 1980s, but they respond really well to a multiband compressor with a little bass emphasis. Each track was handled individually to ensure that I thoroughly slammed it for your house party this summer. I used soundforge and a turntable to record, then PSPVintagewarmer to massage the audio.
If you ever want tips on remastering from vinyl, let me know, its become sort of an obsession for me.
In a lot of the hip hop stuff you'll notice that sampling ethics hadn't really been sorted out, and the records were never popular enough to come onto radar and get sued. Its a pleasure to hear such obvious party music, made with zero anxiety about how much of something gets sampled.

disco-electrofunk megamix!

my next project will be the much requested bhangra megamix I've been working on, but i'm having a hard time finding my bhangra stuff from an old hard drive. oh yes, and I am back to box.net for this one, so that you can stream this direct instead of expecting you to download it. also, YET ANOTHER file storage service has folded, fileupyours.com yields a 404 now.

Monday, May 08, 2006

More on "The Sounds and Music of the RCA Electronic Music Synthesizer"

Since my posting on the RCA Mark II has drawn so much public interest(I can only guess I got picked up by a more popular blog, and one of the editors of Keyboards magazine germany contacted me from a googling) I've decided to take some pictures of the record and do what little research on it that I can. Here are some images in a Flickr set of details from the jacket of the record. The record jacket is essentially the same thing that the announcer said-almost exactly in most parts. But the graphics are too cool to pass up showing off.
link the Flickr set: here
I did a little bit of digging for information on Harry Olson, the director of the project. Turns out he's also the man behind the ill-fated RCA Picture disc format, which you may have seen put in record bins by confused thrift store workers. He's also the man pictured pointing and directing the guy in the jumpsuit(i love that) to "turn that black knob, no not that one, the other identical black knob in a bank of 30 unlabelled knobs!" Heres some quick info on Harry Olson
Also, turns out that the great sounding narratOR on the record is just John Preston, one of the engineers! Man people used to sound so much cooler.
You'll also notice that all the frequencies are listed in cycles per second(CPS) instead of hertz. Hertz as a unit of measurement had not yet become standard- this record was made 5 years before that fact, if that gives you any idea of how old this record really is. Its also interesting to note in the routing diagram that the synth actually used octavers like an organ, which highlights the interesting and little discussed topic(I have no friends) of just what is an organ and what is a synthesizer? A lot of organs have had pitch bends, effects built in, and "solo sections" which were essentially monosynths of sorts.
I've also went ahead and uploaded the entire record to a new server. Every new solution presents some new hassles, but bear with me and I'll sort it out. I have zipped and uploaded the record to here. It's about 50MB so if you don't have broadband...sorry(for so many reasons).
Got big plans for the blog this week, school let out and I've got a lot of time while I sit around and wait for returned calls from my waste of time completely worthless university, Middle Tennessee State University. Trust me, don't go there. I'll be doing a write up on a couple more stupid records, including some modular synth porn(and I mean that in a VERY literal sense, not in the silly internet misuse of the word). I'm also contemplating releasing a record of my own stuff that is almost complete.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Couple of Songs for your Friday

The way I see records like this happening is as follows:
kid: Dad, I really need a hot disco record by somebody like Peter Brown
dad: if you're good i'll get you one on the way home from work this friday.

Dad goes to the store, and finds that he can get this GREAT compilation of a bajillion disco hits for $3.99 and jumps on it. Then he gives it to the kid who immediately finds out that its not the original artists, its some pretty average 4 piece cover band with an upright piano.
So, without further ado, I present to you, a Friday double feature from Disco Dancin' Fever from Pickwick records-notorious maker of children's story and haunted house records.
Dance with Me, and Risky Changes.

If there was really such a thing as "disco standards" then this record covers them. I really like records like this, because since most of them were made right as disco was waining a little bit(1978) they illustrate the disco-house transition in a way that we seldom see done. Listen to that little bit of compression on Risky Changes as it cuts through the cheesy piano lines-thats house in the making. Records like these are a much more effective tool at looking at music history than the ones by the artists themselves because they've cut all the artistic quality out of the record and made it entirely as generic as possible. So I guess if you wanted the most generic possible distillation of what dance music looked like in 78, this would be a better place to look than an "original" band who is going to fill their record with "personality" - although I really can't give disco too much credit for that.

If you want more of this record, let me know and i'll record some more. I just bought a phono preamp and I am ready to go!

(you'll still need a box.net account but its quick and easy)