Sunday, February 04, 2007

don't call them mashups

The only piece of dead media hardware that I get really nostalgic about is the Technics 1200 turntable. The thing just has some really interesting technical limitations that give the practice of mixing records a kind of productive disciplinary specificity.

[rant] This is why there's something that's always bugged me about mashups. So you've got elements of one song that are running alongside elements of another song? Where I come from we used to call that 'playing records'. Where this issue is concerned, I'm unapologetic about getting all cranky and reactionary. Playing records requires more than a good ear and a diachronic consciousness (more on that later). Beatmatching needs a level of technical skill, hand/ear coordination, that can only be got from long hours of practice. I can say from experience that even after x years logged, closing the gap between 90% accuracy and 99% is the hardest part.

So if you're doing all this digitally, you've got a song that's already multitracked, with the ability to individually timestretch each track infinitely without affecting the pitch, and BPM counters calling out your target speed to two decimal places, where's the fun in all that? Now that you can do anything, what do you want to do? Throw a Marvin Gaye a capella over a Radiohead instrumental? Sure, why not, nice mashup. All you've proven is that they're both in the same key and they've got a 4/4 time signature. Oh, there's a breakdown after 128 measures? No shit. The tools aren't being pushed to their limits here, that's why any 14 year old with a pirate copy of ProTools can make a mashup. And that's why the resulting songs tend to be interesting for about one or two listens before they go in the recycle bin. [/rant]

So that being said, here's a couple of mashups (gotta think of a better word for 'em) put together using only two turntables and a mixer. No ProTools.

-Fluffy Clouds (Down In It)- (10 meg mp3)

-Hindsight (In the Air Tonight)- (10 meg mp3)


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