Last night I decided to sit in the lounge and have a listen to some of the 12″ single section of my record collection. It’s a big section, and a lot of it is stuff I used to use when mixing dance music. It’s been a while, and it is probably quite telling that most of the 12″ singles are from the period 1996-2000. What can I say – I was big on dance music at the time. Actually everyone knows that dance music attained perfection in the Autumn of 1999. Everything since has pretty much been a pale immitation, rehash or outright rip-off of something that went before.
Maybe it is just a sign of getting old? Wah! I don’t want to be old!
There were quite a few white label promos from my time DJing and radio presenting. Positiva is a label that came up again and again. I found some of the singles that I used to use in my set when playing gigs, and it’s strange to hear them unmixed after so many years. I have a recording on CD of one of the last events I played, and it is the mixed version of my set over an hour. The Gods of the turntables were shining that night, and I did very well even by my standards. Is it blowing my own trumpet too much to admit that I have occasionally listened to that mix CD over the last nine years?
The unmixed tunes sound, well, odd to say the least. On the set there was one mix that comprised crossfading between three records over the space of several minutes so that at no time were less than two records playing at the same time. To listen to those records unmixed makes them sound strangely empty when you are used to hearing the mix.
I don’t think I could still beatmix. I wasn’t that great at it even back in the day, but I got by. For the last five years my two turntables have lived in seperate rooms plugged to a standard stereo amplifier for the purpose of listening to music rather than mixing it. I used to like complex mixing of two tunes, making the most of synthy bits to create more layers to an existing track. Some of the mixes I experimented with were quite different – the James Bond theme from “From Russia with love” mixed into Radio 7 by David Holmes so that the two play over each other for several minutes was one I can remember. I used to love experimenting with old LPs bought secondhand to add samples and vocals to underground dance classics. A part of me wonders if I should dust off my old sound mixer, move the two turntables back together and spin some tunes for the old times. Another part of me warns that I am unlikely to sound as good as I remember sounding.
Does dance music still come on 12″ vinyl these days? Probably not as I haven’t seen any on this format for a few years. In case there’s any youngsters reading: I used to have to beatmix all my records the old-fashioned analogue way by fading between two records, matching the beats using only an adjustment of the speed the turntables were spinning at and my own ear. I used to use computers only to record the line out from sound systems. Even then, there wasn’t much an old K6 300Mhz could do except record a *.wav file and later spend hours chopping it to tracks and burning it out at the lightning speed of 2x write to a CDr.
I work for a living these days. Actually, scrub that – I work for myself from home. Living the dream.