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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
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
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
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
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
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
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