Is the superstar DJ era over?

6 04 2009

Thanks to the rise and rise of Laptop DJs and live music, the era of the turntable-spinning superstar Dj may soon be over…or not? Read to find out.

Superstar DJ

[originally from LA Weekly] At the indie-meets-dance club Echoplex in Echo Park, DJs spin, but just as often these days a floor-friendly sound will emerge in the form of a band, a laptop act or something in between, as was the case with Love Grenades on a recent winter night.

The quartet’s three frontwomen dressed up like pinup girls, opera-length gloves and all, and cooed and sang in a correspondingly sultry haze, complemented by ’80s-inflected musicians on bass, guitar, drums and sequencer. The Grenades’ dance-punk sound has been remixed by friend-of-the-band Sam Sparro, another local artist who has skipped deejaying on the way to dance-floor stardom. Love Grenades don’t deejay, but their recent single, “Tigers in the Fire,” is being peddled on DJ culture’s No. 1 online retailer, Beatport. Clubland is being invaded by artists like these, dance-friendly acts that don’t need turntables to get their point across.

The dance world has been rocked in recent years by laptop-, sequencer- and band-based acts ranging from Justice and the Black Ghosts to Booka Shade. Daft Punk’s Kanye West–led resurrection last year highlighted the duo’s own immersive, turntable-free live act. And the local nu-electro festival HARD Haunted Mansion surpassed the 5,000-ticket mark in the fall with nary a superstar DJ in sight. All this has even some jocks asking if the spin is no longer in.

One of the hottest acts to emerge from the electronic–dance music arena in the past few years is Toronto-based producer Deadmau5, who got his start as a computer programmer before graduating to successful bedroom production. Because he came to deejaying from the tech-geek world, he faced culture shock on the club circuit. We can imagine him meeting all those douche jockeys caught up in drug-filled hazes of their own perceived stardom, egos stroked by groupies, guest lists and MySpace comments — all this stoke for, as Deadmau5 wrote on his own MySpace page, “some dude” who presses “the ‘play/stop’ button and occasionally move[s] a pitch slider.” Late last year, Deadmau5 was interviewed by Irish Daily Star and gave a money quote heard around the DJ world: “I don’t really see the technical merit in playing two songs at the same speed together, and it bores me to fucking tears. I’d like [DJs to] dis-a-fucking-pear. It’s so middleman. They’re like fucking lawyers. You need them, but they’re all fucking cunts.”

Here’s an artist whose music is required spinning for the biggest DJs, and he can’t hold his tongue (but his label can, and they declined to have him speak for this piece).

Deadmau5 admirer and former Angeleno Dave Dresden has worn many hats over the past two decades, including radio host, dance-music journalist, music scout for BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong, and half of defunct DJ duo Gabriel & Dresden. He says Deadmau5 is right. “The day of the DJ as a guy who plays other people’s records might be done,” he says, pointing to newer acts like Morgan Page, who often play their own music live via laptop.

The superclub Avalon Hollywood has in recent years made more and more room for the post-DJ act while giving a cold shoulder to superstar DJs, especially those spinners who play straight-line hypnotic trance. While it still hosts plenty of big-name jocks — mostly of the minimal-techno variety — the venue has seen more than its share of hybrid live acts, including Booka Shade, Gui Boratto and Martin Buttrich.

“I don’t think it’s over, I think it’s evolving,” Avalon co-owner Steve Adelman says of DJ culture. “I think people are going more into electronic bands, live acts and semilive acts. We strive to have a whole production and visual experience that’s not just focused on watching a guy on two turntables.”

L.A.’s Frank Dominguez, a.k.a. down-tempo electronic act Aime, started deejaying 10 years ago but switched in recent years to incorporating nonturntable elements, such as keyboards, effects pads, a drum machine, a laptop and even an iPod. At 31, he plays for a generation of clubgoers more accustomed to the shuffle-play dynamics of an MP3 player than the ecstasy-fueled Botts’ dots of a superstar DJ. “People now would much rather see an artist performing with more than just changing records back and forth,” he says. “The kids go with what’s more stimulating.”

Adelman, who’s been in the superstar-DJ-booking business since the mid-’90s, says those most affected by the demise of the name DJ are local “midlevel” spinners, not huge trance names like Tiësto and Armin Van Buuren. URB magazine editor Joshua Glazer adds that some of the so-called midlevel DJs who had settled stateside around the DJ boom of the new millennium have gone back to Europe, replaced locally by nu-electro bands. Still, Glazer argues, the DJ isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“I think the reports of the death of the superstar DJ have been greatly exaggerated,” he says. “I was one of the first people to declare that death. But compared to five years ago, I definitely think the DJ is on the rise.”

He notes that cheap laptops and easy-to-use software, such as Serato Scratch Live and Ableton Live, have made it easier than ever to deejay — virtually — for a new generation of point-and-click jocks. “It might not be like 1999,” Glazer says, “but maybe we’re just not noticing.”

Links:

Justice – Electro Music With Punk Attitude

Ableton Live 8 – Out Now

View DJ products at Dolphin





Destructive reign of digital music

6 01 2009

pile-of-cds

Happy new year. Let’s start with a prediction:

2009 could be the year the compact disc finally dies. It could be the year lots of other things die as well — polar bears, the high street — but CDs will be the big one. Don’t believe me? Sales are estimated to have slumped 27% in the last quarter compared with 2007, a year in which they’d already nosedived, and anyone who sells them has gone or is going out of business. The writing is on the wall.

How are we to feel about this? If you ask me, absolutely delighted, because CDs have always been, well, a bit rubbish.
What with their instantly crackable spines, tiny little inlay cards and infuriating frequency responce! Bah! [ed]

Consider, if you will, what we have lost because of the CD. First, it pretty much killed off vinyl, but it also murdered tape. What is childhood without tape? No wonder your modern teenager spends all day stabbing and binge drinking: it’s because he’s not at home struggling to record pop songs off the chart show when Bruno Brookes isn’t speaking. And how are boys supposed to express their unrequited love for girls without the compilation tape (complete with handwritten inlay card)?

So good riddance to the CD. With any luck it will help all those ageing, hysterical Take That fans who rushed out to make ‘The Circus’ the fastest-selling CD of the millennium get over their addiction.
photo00
This brings us on to the future, and, even though it won’t include Take That, it is bleak. Things are going to get worse before they get better. The death of the CD has not been brought about by a nostalgic return to tapes and 78s. No, the thing that killed the CD is the iPod. And the iPod is worse than the CD. Yes, it’s very nicely designed and pocket-sized. But clicking down a list of virtual albums is not the same as rummaging through an actual shelf of albums.

And there’s iPod-associated anxiety, a dangerous condition caused by the sheer inability to choose which track you want to listen to from the eight billion available. And why is it that the moment I set fire to my irritatingly scratchy CD collection, I know that the iPod will break? Or the computer will have a fatal error? And I’ll lose my virtual music collection because, well, it was virtual. And I didn’t back it up

What do you prefare to look at ?  This??

fig06a1

Or this??

megadeth

Source: Matt Rudd

Kam DDX5000 – Pair

Features Massive 4.8kg/cm motor torque Low resonance metal chassis Fully adjustable S-Shaped tone arm Dual start/stop buttons Quartz Lock Adjustable Start Time (0.2 to 6 seconds) Adjustable Brake Time (0.2 to 6 seconds) Platter Reverse Motor Off switch Removable Strobe/Target light

Numark PT-01USB Portable Vinyl-Archiving Turntable

PT-01USB permits users to listen to and transfer their vinyl records to digital MP3 files anywhere and anytime thanks to its convenient, rugged design and ability to run on either wall or battery power. An RCA line output is provided for simple connection to any DJ, PA, or stereo system. An auxiliary input allows conversion of audio from any…

Numark TTUSB

The Easiest Way To Digitize Your Vinyl. The TTUSB is a unique, plug and play, USB compatible turntable that makes digitizing your vinyl record collection to your PC or Mac a snap. Packaged with all the necessary cables to connect with a computer or stereo playback system, along with software to remove clicks, pops, and other…





PT-01USB Portable Vinyl-Archiving Turntable.

2 12 2008

Here’s some great news for anyone who’s got a stack of old vinyl records that never get played – Numark has created a revolutionary portable turntable that enables you to convert your vinyl to WAV or MP3, so you can enjoy all that music in your iPod or computer!



This rugged, portable turntable can run on either wall or battery power, comes with a cover with integrated carry-handle, and has an internal speaker for total mobility.

Using the included recording software, no special drivers are needed to connect PT-01USB to any Mac or PC via USB and transfer music from vinyl to hard disk. EZ Vinyl Converter 2 (PC) and EZ Audio Converter (Mac) software are included to make recording and importing audio simple. EZ Vinyl Converter 2 imports your songs directly into your iTunes library, automatically separating tracks, and with a free download of Gracenote® MusicID, it can even automatically name your tracks. PT-01USB also comes with Audacity software for editing your tracks. Audacity also helps reduce clicks, pops, and other noises from your recordings to restore the full quality of your vinyl.

PT-01USB has an RCA line input so you can connect other sound sources such as tape decks and convert them to digital files too! RCA line outputs enable connection to your DJ system or home stereo so you can use PT-01USB as a standard record-player. In addition to the internal speaker and RCA outputs, you can also listen with headphones.

With 33, 45, and 78 RPM speeds, PT-01USB works with your entire record collection. There’s even a ±10% pitch control to help you optimize your tracks for whatever need you have.

Advanced vinyl-to-digital conversion that’s ready to roll when and where you are – PT-01USB.

More:

Numark PT-01USB Portable Vinyl-Archiving Turntable





NUMARK INTRODUCES HIGH RESOLUTION VINYL-TO-CD AND DIGITAL MEDIA SYSTEM, LP 2 CD

4 07 2008
USB Turntable Converts Vinyl to Digital Files and Records to CD, Featuring Disc Mastering by Alesis
Numark, the world’s leading manufacturer of products for the DJ market, announces LP 2 CD, an advanced USB turntable with internal flash memory and CD recorder studio-grade digital archiving.

LP 2 CD is a professional tool for fine-quality conversion of vinyl recordings to CD, WAV or MP3, with or without a computer. Digital files can be used in any CD player, iPod, hard disk player or other digital format. LP 2 CD is a sophisticated all-in-one system with internal flash memory, so no computer is required to make superbly high-quality digital recordings from vinyl or any other analog source using the RCA line inputs.

Because it is built around 1GB of flash memory, users can make multiple copies of their albums, make custom mix CDs or export music via the integrated USB audio interface.

LP 2 CD provides the absolute finest quality of digitization through non-simultaneous conversion and burning processes. By burning CDs after vinyl is recorded to the internal flash memory, LP 2 CD eliminates the problem of CD recorder vibrations interfering with the turntable needle. LP 2 CD also employs Alesis mastering technology, including high resolution, 24-bit, 192kHz A-D converters for outstandingly low distortion and clock jitter, resulting in dramatically better sound quality than consumer grade CD converters.

Key features of LP 2 CD include:

  • USB turntable with integrated flash memory system and built-in CD burner for all-in-one recording from vinyl to CD 
  • Mastering by Alesis, finest possible conversion audio quality and superior CD recording consistency 
  • USB audio interface, analog (RCA) line in, and analog (RCA) line out for comprehensive connection 
  • EZ Vinyl Converter 2 (PC) and EZ Audio Converter (Mac) software for easy, intuitive recording 
  • Audio editing software assists in reduction of noise, clicks, and pops from worn recordings

LP 2 CD is due at retailers in Q3-2008.