Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Music, Moby & Money

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

I came across an article via Twitter about Moby; nothing unusual about that you might say, until you realise the headline compared his seminal album ‘Go’ to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

Before some of you become apoplectic with rage (I fear for it’s too late already for some of you), both are landmark recordings, changing the face of the music industry, but in very different ways.


Much has been written about ‘Thriller’, so I’d not get into it here (I’ll save that for another time).

The phenomenally successful ‘Go’, by the mopey vegan owes its success to the fact that every track on the album bypassed the usual route to success by every recording on the LP being licensed for use for other parties, most notably ad agencies.

The full article can be read here – it’s an interesting read, & it demonstrates the value of thinking differently.


Moby & his manager bypassed the traditional route of approaching record company execs & formulated a strategy essentially targeting ad agencies & manufacturers.

The success of this now means that record labels, like film companies now effectively have an eye on ‘merchandising’, in this case the lucrative licensing market; indeed, acts may be dropped from their labels if they disagree over a licensing deal.


As much as labels complain about illegal downloads (which is a problem that does need to be addressed), licensing tracks has become very big business & a highly viable revenue stream, both for the label, but the client as well as the artist.


We’re aware artists are in a rapidly-changing musical & commercial landscape. Now more than ever, artists wishing to be successful need to have one eye on the marketplace, one eye on the Internet as well as constantly awareness of changes in technology.

Whilst it’s (mostly) given quality work is a must for any artist, those that can exploit a niche stand to secure an advantage in an increasingly competitive & crowded space.

Other Stuff I’ve Been Listening To…

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Alph’s Listens on Mixcloud

At Last – Tunin’ Up!!

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I know, I know, it’s took me long enough, but hey, I finally got ’round to it; I got a new mixed completed & uploaded.

Tunin’ Up by Alph on Mixcloud


I could look to a number of reasons: I got a new PC together& built it myself (I could write a book about THAT particular episode…); family/personal stuff or work; fact is, just not enough time or focus to let me get on with it.


I’d initially started this as a single standalone piece. Having completed it & some time having passed, I’ve decided to make it a prelude to celebrating what would have been Stump Juice’s 20th anniversary. It in fact is also a salute to the much overlooked part of many club nights – the warm up session.

Like most guys getting into DJ’ing, I’d always be hungry for the ‘glory spot’, any part of the 2-3 hour peak period of most club sessions. When booked as a headlining guest, this generally isn’t a problem, as promoters usually place the DJ in this spot. At gigs where I worked with friends, there would always be a bit of a ‘bidding war’ for that spot.

However, I soon began to realise & came to enjoy the warm up session.

That period when a club’s open but before the punters come in is as valuable as time as when you’ve got them in the palm of your hand, whipping them into a frenzy at peak time.

I’d use this time almost as a ‘digging session’, locating the less-often played tracks in my box, stuff that wouldn’t normally make it into a regular or peak-time set, as well as new stuff I’d acquired. I’d also try out new mix ideas, without the ‘performance pressure’ when you’re in the middle of a packed out club.

It was also great when I got booked to play if we got to the venue early, often helping to set up then listening to the hosts/residents play their warm-up sets. Getting to hear another side to someone’s musical personality can be as inspiring listening for the hot new tunes they’d be dropping in a peak-time set.

Any aspiring DJ should be aware that this period is actually quite important & if given the chance to play it should do so – ok, you’re not exactly centre stage, BUT if used wisely, it’ll stand you well when you DO get there. I also think that established DJs should do it once in a while, just to see how it feels again to be just playing music.

What I did On My Break….

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Well, it’s been over a year since I last entered anything on this blog. I’d have gotten ’round to it sooner, but as usual family, work along with a million and one other things have taken priority.

That & my computer dying rather spectacularly…..


In the meantime what’s happened?


Finally got a new PC – my first self-build! (Mmmm, shiny!)

Still loading my programs & samples (d’oh!)

Also got a (Native Instruments) Maschine Mk 1 (Mmmm, Shiny!)

My mum turned 70 (YAAAAAY!!)

I still listened to a lot of stuff on Mixcloud; here’s a selection:


Peter Gabriel: My World – A Shed Special by Mark Coles on Mixcloud

Peter Gabriel: My World – A Shed Special by Mark Coles on Mixcloud

Should we be designing our children? by Stuffyoushouldknow on Mixcloud


….and Jimmy Savile was unmasked as possibly Britain’s most prolific serial sex offender (nice..). That’s something for another piece.


In a lighter vein, 2013 marks 20 years since Stump Juice opened in Wolverhampton. I’ve met some people who reminded me & swapped misty-eyed memories. In marking such a unique point in time, I’ve been going through the archives & hopefully in the coming months I’ll unearth & upload any DJ sets we recorded.

I can’t believe it – 20 years some of you weren’t even born when we started! Man, that’s weird.

Anyhow I’ll get on with playing with my new kit (again – thanks in part to my long-suffering & very understanding wife).


Not Just For Newbies……………….

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Last year (I think), I came across this link to a forum, whilst searching for information on MIDI setups for the Korg Nano series.

I’ve read many books & use a lot of publications such as Computer Music and so on, which offer invaluable advice. However, when I stumbled on the Future Producers website where this piece resides, this was a simple amusing, yet effective overview of the basic lessons everyone should be aware of, not just novices.

Big thanks to BigBrother Motown, for writing the original post.

I won’t spoil it for you, just view the original article here.