Beatseqr is a hardware step sequencer that offers real time manipulation of parameters from your favorite virtual synths or Digital Audio Workstations. Designed and developed by Steve, an old friend from my DJing days, it is built using the arduino. It boasts some very impressive capabilities such as 4 pattern looping, pattern copying and pasting, and mute and solo… all rolled up into a very intuitive hardware interface. The sliders can be assigned to various parameters of a patch for further tweaking and this is where the beatseqr really shines. Here is some video of the device being used with ReDrum, providing a general overview of the features. There are a number of other informative demonstration videos over at the beatseqr blog.
Last week I posted about a great site devoted to oldskool techno. There are quite a few blogs, forums, youtube channels, etc, devoted to this music and the scene that emerged around it. For me, even though I stopped gigging live for the most part as I have become focused on other aspects of my life, I have continued to research and discover elements of this music. Thank you Discogs!
What is it about this music that has created such a committed and loyal following? Looking back through the prism of maturity (and I mean that in a variety of ways, including artistically) after all these years, there is plenty of criticism one can direct toward this music. I mean, the production values on many of these records was not very good, the music often simple or formulaic, many records clone samples, beats and riffs off one another and let’s face it, some of those sounds are just in your face and obnoxious. And you know what? It is every one of those things and more that keeps this music endearing to us. Of course, there is the sentimentality of a magic time in our youth. A time spent with friends, putting the struggles and troubles of the day away for an evening of dancing, hearing new sounds, and meeting new people… Ok, now I am just rambling.
In any event, here is a mix I did a few years back that I think encapsulates a wide variety of oldskool techno. Everything from Belgian techno to some harder edged acid, and particularly a lot of the pre-jungle UK breakbeat that I was so fond of when I first started buying these records back in 1992. Tracklisting included below.
Stream: OldSkool Vinyl ThrowDown
Download: OldSkool Vinyl ThrowDown
01. Genaside II – Narra Mine
02. Is That It? – State of Mind
03. Rocket – Straight Up
04. Rabbit City #3
05. Pied Piper – Dreamers
06. HHFD – Start the Panic
07. Cybersonik – Technarcy
08. Tribal Instincts EP – Rock Da House
09. Venom – I Need Your Love
10. Tribal Instincts EP – Coming On Strong
11. Criminal Minds – Baptized By Dub
12. Phuture Assassins – Future Sound
13. Progression – On a Rubbish Tip
14. Krome & Time – This Sound is for the Underground
15. 4 Hero – In the Shadow (Sunrise Remix)
16. 32 Troop – Papa Malaysia
17. Illuminatae – Dreamer
18. The Hypnotist – This is my House
19. Mr. Kool-Aid & Marco – 2001: A Soda Pop Odyssey
20. D.H.S. – The House of God (Pump Panel Remix)
21. Drax – Amphetamine
22. DJ Tim & Ortega – Heartbreak
23. Edge #9 – File 57
24. Flag – Dominate
25. E.Kude – Common Sensi
26. Sound Corp – Security Overload
27. Kickin Six Pack LP 5
28. Caspar Pound – Pioneers of the Warped Groove (Way Out West Remix)
29. Hyper On Experience – Lords of the Null Lines (Foul Play Remix)
30. N-Joi – Drumstruck
31. Blame – Music Takes You (2 Bad Mice Remix)
32. Urban Shakedown – Some Justice
Blog to the Oldskool is dedicated to raising awareness of many classic and even obscure old school techno gems from back in the day. This is the music that I first started DJing with and it will always hold a sentimental nostalgia for me. It’s hard to believe that some of these tracks are almost 20 years old already!
I purchased an app for the Ipod Touch called ToneTable, which acts as a trigger control for software like Traktor or Serrato Scratch. It sends out a control pitch signal, like the timecoded vinyl records that are distributed with such mixing applications.
The app shows a virtual record and it has a pitch control to allow beatmatching as well as realtime pitch tweaking buttons. After hooking it up to my Traktor audio interface, I was indeed able to mix with it. But I really wanted to see if it was possible to scratch with it. And while it isn’t quite as precise as real vinyl; I was very impressed with the results. Below is some video I shot to compare it scratching with tradidiotnal vinyl as well as the Traktor control vinyl. It takes a bit of getting used to and finding a way to keep the Ipod in place is a bit of a challenge, but all in all this is a very impressive little app.
With a little practice, two Ipods, a mixer and a laptop, you could certainly perfrom with this amazing piece of work.
This video speaks for itself… the no fader scratching is insane.
This beautiful song encapsulates my mood today – reflections of the past and visions of hope for the future.
I sucked the moon
I spoke too soon
And how much did it cost?
I was dropped from
And sailed on shooting stars
But know right from wrong
Or in the flood
You’ll build an Ark
And sail us to the moon
Sail us to the moon
Sail us to the moon
Sail us to the moon
May 2010 usher in a new decade of hope, innovation, art and dreams fulfilled. We have so much potential, much of which is unfortunately wasted in the wash of pettiness and ignorance. Let us look forward with a new purpose, the wind at our backs, to deliver and accept the rewards of our creativity, effort and love.