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Entries in Music (28)

Thursday
Sep062012

DJ Gig: Top Chef Masters Viewing Party with Food Critic Krista Simmons

By virtue of an extremely unlikely confluence of events I found myself asked if I was available to play music at a party hosted by Krista Simmons, the food critic who's been appearing as a guest judge throughout this season of Bravo's Top Chef Masters. Krista was hosting a viewing party for the latest episode at the Roosevelt Hotel here in Hollywood. If you didn't know, the Roosevelt is a very beautiful 1920s hotel in the heart of tinseltown that hosts loads of events and offers many uniquely luxurious amenities, including a swank bowling alley designed to look like a speakeasy. Because it's become a young celebrity and socialite hot spot, It's very common to observe all varieties of gorgeous women and tatted up sickbros collapsing out of the Roosevelt and onto the sidewalk in booze-soaked, powder-coated piles of designer jeans and six-inch stilettos. Naturally, every DJ wants to spin there. Added to my sincere admiration of luxury hotels, my years-long obsession with Top Chef, that I haven't done any DJ'ing in a couple of years, and the fact that my old Meltcast mate Chris Rosa was going to be there made the proposition something of a no-brainer. 

Fortunately for Krista but perhaps unfortunately for you readers, the event was an eminently classy affair with absolutely no fisticuffs or overdoses of any kind. The party went down in Room 100, a cushy lounge adjacent to the Roosevelt's famous/infamous pool. (I joke about the hotel's notoriety as a party spot but the truth is it's a splendid hotel and the staff were magnificently helpful.) The decor included torches and other tropical touches that informed my musical selections (when people are kitted up in coctail dresses and suits to drink chamagne, snack on orderves and watch Bravo, it's not really appropriate to drop the 20-minute version, if you know what I mean). I wish I could tell you something about the menu, but I only managed to grab a few slices of roast beef (they were really good).

The brief was very simple: "electronic," and a few artist requests from Krista (notably Breakbot). Everything was extremely short notice so I only had a couple hours to assemble some tracks and work out a rough playlist with room for improvision and some self-indulgence (I have been really into Saint Etienne lately, so I said fuck it and played a lot more than you're "supposed to" -- also, I snuck in a track from Prince's Batman soundtrack, because it's awesome). I rolled up with my laptop and nothing else, not even headphones. Truthfully, you don't really need anything fancy for events like this; you're just providing some ambience, with your primary function being "don't let the music stop and don't play anything too shitty." I've seen a lot of event DJs just rock it on iTunes even though they pile up a mountain of gear. I like messing around with Traktor to see what kind of tasty transitions I can make. These were my ingredients, including pre-party appetizers (i.e. testing the sound system, messing around before people show up):

  1. Underworld: Ansum
  2. Beck: Diamond Dogs
  3. Underworld: Banstyle (Alex Reece Mix)
  4. Saint Etienne: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Andrew Weatherall Mix)
  5. Saint Etienne: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Richard X Foxbase Beta version)
  6. Goldfrapp: A&E (Maps Instrumental)
  7. Chromatics: In The City (Instrumental)
  8. Saint Etienne: Like A Motorway (Alternative Version)
  9. Annie: Anthonio (Fred Falke Remix)
  10. David Lynch: Good Day Today (Underworld Classic Remix)
  11. Röyksopp: In Space
  12. Saint Etienne: London Belongs To Me (Richard X Foxbase Beta Version)
  13. The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer (DFA Version)
  14. Poolside: Take Me Home
  15. Moloko: Familiar Feeling (Martin Buttrich Remix)
  16. David Lynch: Good Day Today (Diskojokke Remix)
  17. High Contrast: The Long Way Home (NHS Mix)
  18. The Prodigy: 3 Kilos
  19. Underworld: Cups (Salt City Orchestra's Vertical Bacon Vocal)
  20. Daft Punk: Fresh
  21. Leftfield: Release The Dubs
  22. Primal Scream: Autobahn 66
  23. The Chemical Brothers: Das Spiegel
  24. Belle & Sebastian: I Didn't See It Coming (Richard X Remix)
  25. Breakbot featuring Ruckazoid: Fantasy (Ruckazoid Remix)
  26. Breakbot: Penelope Pitstop
  27. Pet Shop Boys: Flamboyant (Scissor Sisters Silhouette & Shadows Mix)
  28. Mylo: In My Arms
  29. Mylo: Guilty Of Love
  30. Saint Etienne: Hug My Soul (Alternative Version)
  31. Poolside: California Sunset
  32. SebastiAn: Arabest
  33. Underworld: Moon In Water
  34. Gorillaz: On Meloncholy Hill
  35. Electric Guest: This Head I Hold
  36. Janelle Monáe: Tightrope (Solo Version)
  37. LCD Soundsystem: I Can Change
  38. SebastiAn featuring Mayer Hawthorne: Love In Motion
  39. Yelle: Ce Jeu
  40. Pet Shop Boys: A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"
  41. Röyksopp: Eple
  42. Prince: Vicki Waiting
  43. Kavinsky: Nightcall (Breakbot Remix)

You can listen to most of these on a Spotify playlist I made.  

Krista was an excellent hostess and everyone had a lovely time. She was especially happy with the music and I was pleased to help her celebrate her big night. If you're into food, you should definitely follow her work at the LA Times and elsewhere

Wednesday
Jul072010

DJ gig: FORMA Design.Build

I played music at the showroom opening of FORMA Design.Build, a very cool home design studio specializing in custom, hand-made work in the European style. The event was open to the public and a lot of fun, with lots of cool things to look at, including the photography of Gusmano Cesaretti. The showroom is right next to Silverlake's popular Red Lion tavern, so there was a lot of hipster foot traffic mixed in with the highfalutin-types. Probably 100 people at the most.

A great success i think, and the patrons and management complimented me several times for my selections, which was a relief because I was just playing whatever I felt like that might also fit the ambience. As you'll see in the setlist below, I definitely indulged myself.

Click to enlarge

Setlist 

  1. Underworld - Ansum
  2. Saint Etienne - How We Used to Live
  3. Moloko - Familiar Feeling (Martin Buttrich Remix)
  4. Annie - Greatest Hit
  5. Goldfrapp - A&E (Maps Instrumental)
  6. Mylo - Valley of the Dolls
  7. The Prodigy - 3 Kilos
  8. Underworld - Oich Oich (Lemonworld Jam)
  9. The Chemical Brothers - The Boxer (DFA Version)
  10. M.I.A. - Paper Planes (DFA Remix)
  11. Daft Punk - Fresh
  12. Underworld - Cups (Salt City Orchestra's Version)
  13. Primal Scream - Autobahn 66
  14. Röyksopp - Happy Up Here
  15. Mylo - Emotion 98.6
  16. New Order - Thieves Like Us (Instrumental)
  17. Beck - Diamond Dogs
  18. Meat Beat Manifesto - Everything Counts
  19. The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want (Soulwax Remix)
  20. Underworld - Jumbo
  21. Moby - Porcelain
  22. Saint Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Andrew Weatherall Mix)
  23. Saint Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Beta Version)
  24. Mylo - Guilty of Love
  25. Underworld - Dirty Epic (Dirty Guitar Mix)
  26. Daft Punk - Voyager
  27. Leftfield - Release the Dubs
  28. New Order - Regret (New Order Mix)
  29. Saint Etienne - Hug My Soul
  30. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim featuring Nellie McKay - How Are You?  
  31. The Chemical Brothers - Das Spiegel
  32. Pet Shop Boys - Flamboyant (Scissor Sisters Silhouettes & Shadows Mix)
  33. Scissor Sisters - Running Out
  34. Antônio Carlos Jobim - Insensátez
  35. Underworld - Banstyle (Jam Version from Everything, Everything DVD-ROM)
Friday
May282010

Sound + Vision 2

Sound + Vision combines two of my favorite things: sharing music and taking photos. Included with each photo is a streaming song that I thought worked well with the image. If you enjoy that track, I hope you'll purchase it cheaply with the helpful Amazon link.

♫ Waves, Waves, Waves

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan272010

Rainy Day MIx

Right-click or CTRL-click here to download (233MB MP3)

This is my latest DJ mix, inspired by the beautiful Los Angeles rainstorms of the last several days. The songs were selected and the mix was compiled specifically for rainy day listening, preferably in a setting where you can also hear the rain in the background. Obviously, I missed getting this out while the L.A. storms were in full effect but I reckon it's probably raining somewhere else in the world right now or will be soon. Fellow Californians, I hope you'll add this to your emergency rain survival kits for later.

Naturally, the music here is mainly somber and introspective, reflecting either lyrically or sonically the themes of rain or water, with a really thick, wet sound that is not very danceable at all (although there are quite a lot of beats -- this is not an ambient mix). You'd think this would make for an easier time on the mixing end, but Rainy Day was probably the most difficult mix I've undertaken. While the technical aspects of a high energy dance mix can be daunting, achieving a decent flow or arc is quite a lot easier than it is with relatively chill music, at least in my opinion. The challenge was compounded by the longer running time -- 100 minutes, as opposed to the far leaner 60. It was a real chore, discovering the optimum track list and mix points, but I think I did a good job. 

My favorite moody mixtapes were always those sent to me by friends and didn't include a track list, so I will continue that tradition here. But you will hear the sounds of Blur, David Bowie, Goldfrapp, Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails, M83, R.E.M., Radiohead, Röyksopp, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more, plus one or two what-I-hope-will-be-pleasant surprises. I must warn you, Rainy Day is a bit goth

Cover art by me, featuring the lovely Katie Horwitch. I grabbed a few iPhone shots of her while accompanying photographers Lou O'Bedlam and Jon Hill on a shoot in Venice Beach during last week's rain. You can see more of Katie here.

Hope you like it!

Previous Mixes

Download Insomnia Mix 1 hereDownload MTHRFCKRZ Mix here

Wednesday
Jan132010

Sound + Vision 1

While I've never thought of myself as a real photographer, I've always taken loads of pictures.  I remember spending a summer at the Jersey Shore when I was 16 or 17 and buying a roll of black-and-white film and taking pictures of the Boardwalk in the rain (I was in art school at the time and it seemed like a really profound thing to do -- I was wearing a black-and-white flannel shirt if that paints a better picture for you). Later, I bought one of the early digital cameras and drove around the country with it. Then I discovered the mobile phone cameras, and things got messy. 

I spent most of the last decade photographing virtually everything with variously malfunctioning cameraphones. I think I've taken some reasonably cool pictures with phones, but I've always justified the practice by thinking of it in a kind of bastardized context of David Carson's (Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile) concept of fotografiks, a kind of photography/graphic design approach that you can invoke to excuse dubious photography as graphic design elements. Or something. It's a bit much for a hobbyist, really. Anyway, I'm pleased that at least among my friends and a bunch of strangers on the Internet, I've managed to develop a photography style of my own. However, it's been pointed out to me by more than one person that I've taken this filthy phonecam aesthetic as far as I can.

Here are some examples, and you can see loads more here if you like this sort of thing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In advance of buying a decent hobbyist camera, I've been spotlighting on Tumblr what I think are some good shots from my archives, including some cameraphone stuff I think has some aesthetic value beyond the idiosyncrasies of that format. Because I got such a great response to my This Used To Be The Future... series, included with each photo is a streaming song. It's an idea I stole from the very brilliant and very naked self-portrait photographer Sabrina Dacos (NSFW).

What I think I'll call Sound + Vision combines two of my favorite things, sharing music and taking photos. I'll continue to roll one out every day or so on Tumblr, but I'm experimenting with collecting those photos and songs here every few weeks, both for myself and for anybody who's kind enough to keep up with me but doesn't have a Tumblr (you should get one, it's fun).


♫ Emotion 98.6
 



♫ Big black cloud, little white lie
This one's on me (right-click or CTRL-click to download)


♫ Old World Underground, where are you now?
 


♫ She takes it all the wrong way
 


♫ Wish I could fly like Superman
 


♫ Shoot speed/kill light
 


♫ Heads will roll
 


♫ Something in the air


♫ All these things...
  


♫ They put you down, they say I'm wrong
This one's on me (right-click or CTRL-click to download)

That's it for this edition of Sound + Vision. If you're a photographer or a designer or just an appreciator of those things, I'd love to hear your remarks, feedback, criticisms, etc.