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A remix from the early 2000s

June 11, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Minimal Techno, Songs, Techno

MFT- Ahhhh (soundlord remix) (July 20, 2001) (download here).

MFT- Ahhhh Mix (2001) (download here).

MFT techno musicback in 2001 a friend of mine, Michael MacBride, had a one-man electronica band called MFT. He produced some pretty inspired songs in those days, and the two of us did a pretty good job of inspiring each other to create techno music in our free time (which, back then, we had quite a bit more of).

one of the things we did back in those days was remix each others songs; he created a remix of Mindwipe, long since lost… and I made a remix of his Ahhhh Mix, a 12 minute ambient tune featuring some chunky beats.

here I have included my remix (the top link – I went by the moniker soundlord back then), and below that, the original Ahhhh Mix. By listening to them both you can tell that the remix is not a whole lot like the original; it was fun remixing the song using my own style (which, even back in 2001, veered toward melodic trance), with sounds from my principal synth at the time, my E-mu E-Synth sampler and synthesizer.

an interesting piece of trivia is that this remix was created using Cubase VST on a Windows machine. Currently the songs I have been creating have been produced using Ableton Live 8 on a newer Windows machine; however, just Friday I received in the mail my new machine – an Apple Macbook Pro. I also received the latest version of Logic Studio in the mail, so I’m going to be experimenting with that. Cubase, then Ableton, then Logic – by the time I’m done I’ll have completed a pretty thorough tour of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software.

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classic house music from the late 80s and early 90s

May 07, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: DJ Mixes, Links

Roland TB-303a while back I posted a link to some old skool house mixes from the late 80s. These were pretty good, but in reality they were a bit too soulful even for me – I’m not as into the vocal, soulful, almost gospel style of house music from those days – I personally prefer the more hardcore acid house that also surfaced during that time.

naturally I started looking around the web for some good mixes, and by searching for “acid house podcasts” I managed to find the page of DJ JuJu, a British DJ from South London (now living in Norfolk).

I’ve never heard of him myself, but this fellow has a pretty good grasp of the acid. His site has a series of free downloads of mixes ranging from acid to vocal to hip house, and I’ve linked to them below.

DJ JuJuClassic House Part 1: Vocal house and garage from ’88 to ’90. Some big tunes in here (like Tribal House’s Motherland and Sweat by Jay Williams at the end of the mix), though as I have mentioned I wasn’t as big into the vocal house as I was the other stuff.

Classic House Part 2: More classic vocal house. Listen for Chanelle’s One Man and the Steve Hurley mix of Ten City’s That’s the Way Love Is.

Classic House Part 3: Deep classic house from ’88 to ’90. The instrumental version of ESP’s It’s You is one of my favorite house tracks of all time (and so much better than the vocal version), and Can U Dance by Kenny ‘Jammin’ Jason & Fast Eddie is guaranteed to bring it back.

Classic House Part 4: An awesome mix of acid house and Detroit techno, some of my favorite genres. Reese & Santonio’s The Sound is a true classic, (love that 808 drum line), plus there’s Ride the Rhythm’s This Ain’t Chicago for a killer acid line and the jammin’ Work It to the Bone by LNR.

Classic House Part 6 (there is no part 5): Some hip house classics. Yet another of my favorite genres of classic music! I recommend you skip the first part of the mix and start at minute 25:00. From there you’ve got the 1997 remake of Doug Lazy’s Let It Roll called Rollin’ On, the club mix of Mr. Lee’s Get Busy, Musto & Bones’ Dangerous on the Dance Floor, I’ll House You by the Jungle Brothers, Fast Eddie’s Yo Yo Get Funky and the white label Planet E. Seriously, this stuff is tremendous. If you don’t like this stuff you may in fact have no soul.

and this next mix isn’t a classic house mix, but…

JuJu 4 Hour Radio Show 19th April 2009: A mix of classic techno and rave music, for the most part. This is a massive four hour mix, containing three of my favorite classic techno tracks, Tronik House’s Up Tempo and Altern8’s Infiltrate 202 followed by Comin’ On Strong by Rhythm Section. If you want to listen to what I think is the sweet spot of this mix, start at about 2:25:00.

DJ JuJu has plenty of other mixes on his site (the last one uploaded on February 18th, 2010) so I recommend you visit his site and check it out! I’ll be heading back there on occasion to see if he’s put out any more compilations of some of my favorite classic tracks.

free Deadmau5 tracks – Project 56

March 24, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Links

Deadmau5 at the OlympicsDeadmau5 is huge on the progressive house scene. There are plenty of songs and remixes out there that were either produced by Deadmau5 (and he has a bunch of them) or by someone trying to sound like him.

a while back Deadmau5 released Project 56, a series of 56 ideas, melodies, clips and grooves that he originally created as a compilation project for people with short attention spans. In the end he decided to stick the whole series online so that people could download them for free and to, as he indicates, “exploit these tracks in any way your evil heart desires”. His only request is that if you do use them in a production, give him some credit for doing so.

so… why not! 56 clips of interesting ideas by one of the biggest names in the business, available for free download. Is at least worth checking out.

one of the first techno songs?

March 21, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Links, Personal, Videos

Information Societylast year I posted something about how I first got into electronic music; one of the songs I mentioned was this one, Information Society’s Running (Instrumental Version). I thought I’d elaborate on that post here, simply because I feel Information Society’s instrumental version of Running was a truly groundbreaking song. I still remember hearing this song in Toronto during the 80s and being quite blown away by it – there was nothing much like it at the time. I also remember subsequently hearing the “true” version of the song (with lyrics) and being horribly underwhelmed. To my young mind, the magic of the song was lost once they started singing overtop of it.

I’m wondering if Information Society (or someone else) were to make a version of this today, how well it would perform in the clubs. It would need a better drum kit – a deeper kick, some better compression, and some cymbal sweeps – and a more thorough bass sound, but with a little work I think this song could bring people to the floor in clubs today. Heck, it probably could right now, as it stands.

this may of course be one of those cases that my own sentimental value of this song outweighs its true value – I’d appreciate any feedback on that! And speaking of nostalgia… what the heck is with the clothes Information Society is wearing on their album cover? If we bring back classic dance tunes from the 80s, let’s not bring that part back as well…

the Amen Break

March 05, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Links, Videos

Color Him Fatherhere is a very interesting video about what is likely the world’s most popular breakbeat (when you hear it, you’ll know it immediately). Popular in techno, hip hop and jungle, the Amen Break is a 40 year old breakbeat that was first featured in a tune by The Winstons called Amen, Brother, the little known B-side track on the Winstons’ Grammy Award winning hit Color Him Father.

while the Amen Break is not as widely used now as it was in the 90s it certainly played an essential role in the development of modern electronic music (and, when sliced apart and sped up, pretty much kicked off drum ‘n bass), and for that it holds a special place in the hearts of many, including myself.

VSTs and plugins for techno and trance

March 04, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Links, Plugins and VSTs

KVRmost producers probably already know this, but KVR is a great site for free (and some paid) VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins. I’ve downloaded several for Ableton Live, and they’ve been very helpful for creating techno and trance music (yes I’ve still been working on that song – it’s a progressive (dark) trance track called Phantom and it’s almost done! I mean it)! On the plugin search page you can search for all sorts of different VSTs – drum kits, samples, effects, and so on – for Mac, Windows or Linux, and you can specify how much you want to pay to download them (some cost, some are free).

I’m especially fond of this side chain compressor plugin that you can download from some random site in Japan for Windows and Mac. The site looks totally dodgy when you get there, but I haven’t had any issues with the plugin (of course you’ll want to run virus scans on anything you download, just in case). It’s probably not as necessary as it used to be due to the fact that Ableton Live 8 now includes a side chain compressor, but this one is pretty simple to use once you download it (Ableton’s is not), and effective. Perhaps I’ll make a short tutorial about how to use it in a future post.

I’ve finally joined everyone else in the 21st century

February 20, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: DJ Mixes, Links

Podcastsso while I consider myself technically adept, and above average when it comes to adopting and adapting new communications technologies to suit my evil purposes, I somehow missed the boat on podcasts. That may be partially because I’m not huge into the way that iTunes tries to take control of your computer every time you install or upgrade it, and therefore I don’t use it very often. However it happened, I only jumped on the podcasting bandwagon the other day, but I’ll admit I’ve become a fan.

there are tons of excellent DJ mixes out there, mixed by a whole bunch of different DJs and producers, that will simply appear for you, fresh out of the oven so to speak, as soon as they’ve been uploaded by their creators! Those of you already into podcasts are probably pointing and laughing at the screen (well, at the guy behind the screen) and saying “well duh, of course”, but to me, this is pretty big news.

so to celebrate my late discovery of this fantastic technology, here is a podcasted mix by Steve Helstrip, aka The Thrillseekers, a producer who I mentioned a few posts back. I’m linking this mix because I’m really loving the Nitrous Oxide and Adam Nickey song Moon Dust. I even burned a CD of this mix so that I could listen to it in my ancient car.

in other news, as soon as I finish this post I’m going to work on my latest song. It’s been a long time in the coming, but it’s almost done! And I’ll post it on this site when it is.

some melodic trance mixes from 2007 and 2008

February 02, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: DJ Mixes, Links

DJ James Williamsa few years back I used to listen to the Global Soundwave mixes with DJ James Williams, a DJ based out of San Francisco. He played a variety of popular trance music. The only minor complaint I had about his DJing that I did bring up to him over email is that he tended to talk quite a bit throughout his mix – introducing himself, greeting people in the chatroom, and that sort of thing. It’s not really that big a deal, but it’s one of my pet peeves to hear people talking during a DJ mix – I’m there for the music, not for the banter.

at any rate, I hadn’t heard from him for a while, so the other day I checked his web site and discovered several mixes he’d created ready for free download (right click on them to snag them) – and better still, the mixes are completely banter-free, just the way I like them! From what I’ve heard so far they are more melodic and less hardcore than some trance mixes – very easy to listen to.

the only downside here is that James Williams appears to have stopped making mixes – the last mix on the site was put there in November of 2008. I don’t know what he’s been up to lately, but I do hope he’ll eventually get back to work putting some more mixes onto his site.

awesome big ol’ helmets with flashing LEDs on them

January 22, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: DJ Mixes, Links

why are you not listening to this Daft Punk live set right now?

I’ve had it on repeat pretty much since I found it. A tremendous mix featuring plenty of classic Daft Punk songs and more use of low-pass filters than you can shake a stick at.

smack this

January 14, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Links, Videos

Liam Howlett of The Prodigyhere’s a quick link to something bunmun forwarded me that I found both interesting and entertaining; a video demonstrating how to recreate the classic techno track Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy. It was created using Ableton Live 8 by Jim Pavloff, a Ukranian producer with some time on his hands. It’s fascinating how, piece by piece, the song gradually comes together.

what amazes me the most about this exercise is how Liam Howlett, the front man behind The Prodigy, originally found all of the extremely different samples he used in the track, cut them up, filtered them, mashed them together, and churned out a tune as massive as this one. I’m lucky if I can find myself a good kick drum, let alone create something on this epic a scale.