October, 1995 

Before I got interested in doing live
improvised noise, I was experimenting
with playing multiple recordings
simultaneously, mixing them together.

This is a pretty obvious
thing to do --

Almost everyone mixes at least 
the beginnings and ends of tracks 
together, starting the next     
before fading down the last.
And from one point of view
it's so obvious it's trite            There was a comic strip               
and stupid --                         to that effect posted 
                                      at KZSU for a long time.   Essentially 
                                                                 it was 
  But there were two DJs                                         about 
  on the air around the                                          obnoxiously 
  time I was starting who                                        self- 
  were doing a great job                                         indulgent 
  of this kind of mixing:                                        college 
  Faustina and Neville.                                          radio 
                                                                 DJs who 
                                                                 just need 
Once, I liked the                                                to knock 
sound of what Neville                                            off the 
was playing and I                                                crap and 
walked into the                                                  play the 
control room to see                                              music. 
what it was: every 
channel on the board 
was glowing green.  He 
was playing three                                      One of the things 
records and three CDs                                  it sneered at was 
at the same time, and                                  DJs "experimenting" 
making it sound like                                   by playing two things 
one thing.                                             at the same time. 

This kind of thing made me                             Another was the DJ 
feel like I was on someone                             playing a tape of 
else's territory:                                      his dog's intestinal
I avoided doing a lot                                  rumblings. 
of heavy mixing unless                                       
I felt like I had an                                      (This of course,    
idea that someone else                                     made me wonder 
hadn't done before.                                        what that would
                                                           sound like.)      
And gradually I lost interest                                                 
in doing this kind of thing.                                               
    It feels like putting                                              
    a lot of work into                               
    something that you                  
    can't really call your          But then, that's being
    own, because it's made          a DJ, isn't it?       
    up of other people's                                  
                                                In recent years
                                                I've come back 
       And there are people so                  to this...     
       much better at this                        
       than me, they raise                         BRIGHT_GRAY
       these kind of tricks up
       to the level of a new     
       artform... for example,
       KZSU's "DJ Unknown",   
       who when not doing        
       House music, has been  
       known to do some really  
       interesting "sound"    

Someone once asked me "How      
did you learn how to do that???"     
(as though I'm the great expert)     Actually, one of the things 
and I didn't know what to say.       I did say makes sense: if you're 
                                     wondering what two things will 
This is what I                       sound like together, just walk 
should have said:                    into Studio B and try it before 
                                     going on the air.
First of all, it's not as                             
hard as you might think.                 I can remember being a         
Just like your eye often                 beginner and feeling    
finds meaning in random                  some trepidation at           
patterns like ink blots,                 mixing a Malcolm X            
your ear tries to make                   speech with some music--         
sense of unrelated sounds                in retrospect that seems          
coming out of the same set               so *easy*.  Why not just  
of speakers.                             do that?                
Further, an appreciation of
noise (as opposed to music)
is a ubiquitous part of
modern culture.
We're quite accustomed to
listening to mixtures of noise
and music, for example in
movie sound tracks.

There are some things that aren't likely
to sound good, and should be avoided:

    Using the regular turntables in the 
    main studio, we've got little control       And conversely, 
    over the speed of the turntables, so        an industrial drone piece 
    mixing two pieces with a prominent          will almost always sound okay 
    beat isn't likely to work.                  mixed with anything else. 
    Playing two pieces with lyrics at 				
    the same time is usually difficult. 			
    restricting the mix to only one piece      That said... I think one of my 
    with voice on it is usually best.          favorite mixes involved three 
                                               vocals only tracks (I think 
                                               Diamanda Galas, Sheila Chandra, 
                                               and some Gregorian chants).

                                               All of which goes to show it 
                                               isn't easy to come up with 
                                               rules any better than rules 
                                               of thumb.