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Created by chris, on May 17, 2012 06:29

Record Case - DJ Talk: It was an art once...

about 6 years ago (edited on May 17, 2012 08:42)
Let the algorithm do it...

Okay, first of all: No, I do not think that digital DJing is necessarily evil.

Why I dislike laptop DJing? Well, this new technology gives a DJ so many opportunities, but quality is decreasing, though. How can that be? In the pre-digital area, a DJ had to do put pretty much effort into learning basic techniques before she/he was good enough to perform. That most certainly needed some time and during this learning phase you developed your style on the fly. And style – a personal style – can not be overestimated when we talk about art. This abstract concept “style” includes more then just mixing technique. You also spent time on collecting records finding the mixes that really hit it and maybe you even learned a bit about the technology you are using.

Laptop DJing involves program installation, some hours orientation, spending 100 bucks on Beatport and you are ready to go… go and perform at some random spot where people think that it is DJing what you are doing. It is the kind of DJ who drives the mixer into distortion 90% of the time. It is the kind of DJ who mixes to the CD or vinyl from the guy before him, does not get it managed to synchronize, but takes the mix over 90 sec. anyway (and I wish I were deaf).

When I buy records, I have to think about what I buy – they are expensive! Laptop Djs most certainly have some black copies an their HD and even if not, MP3s do not cost much. And that is exactly what I get to hear: something. Not a carefully selected set, but a random subset of some 10GB music. Of course this is not true for all LapJs, but those who select carefully often collected records before they turned to DJ software. Hopefully mankind will not forget the joy of handling physical copies of music and handling a soldering rod to attach a new cable to the beloved turntable.

Can you imagine that the job of a DJ is soon done by a machine? I am a computer scientist and I can. So what is left of the performance art DJing? a) Selection: Everybody knows some cool tracks. With help of Youtube, Beatport or Last.Fm you do not need more than a few clicks to get stuff alike. And some people in the audience prefer it to assist with the selection, anyway. The future might be an app that enables people to hand in their music wishes, the gaps are filled with the help of the databases of the services named before. b) Transitions: DJ software already has taken over the synchronization. You do not really believe that algorithms are not able to take over the “fun” part – the mixing – as well, do you?

Last but not least: audio quality. MP3 is a awesome invention. MP3 also is information reduction. With the 320kbps from Beatport, you will not run into any quality issues. But hey, wanna be at the source of invention? Real underground? Get some bootleg-ish stuff straight from Soundcloud or wherever! When you encode to 128kbps you sometimes can hear quite harsh comb filter artifacts and other kind of quality loss, even on in-ear headphones. Audio-phility gone, magic gone!

DJs, please be ambitous! No matter which technology you use. And audience please be choosy. You pay for it!

The Doc

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